Krüppel-like factors in cancer progression: three fingers on the steering wheel.

Ridha Limame _, Ken Op de Beeck, Filip Lardon, Olivier De Wever and Patrick Pauwels

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:29-48. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1456

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Ridha Limame1, Ken Op de Beeck1,2, Filip Lardon1, Olivier De Wever3, Patrick Pauwels1,4

1 Center for Oncological Research (CORE), University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp, Belgium

2 Department of Medical Genetics, University of Antwerp and Antwerp University Hospital, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp, Belgium

3 Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research, Department of Radiotherapy and Experimental Cancer Research, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, Ghent, Belgium

4 Laboratory of Pathology, Antwerp University Hospital, Wilrijkstraat 10, Edegem (Antwerp), Belgium


Ridha Limame, email:

Keywords: Krüppel-like factor, carcinoma, EMT, invasion, metastasis, pluripotency

Received: September 30, 2013 Accepted: November 28, 2013 Published: November 30, 2013


Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) comprise a highly conserved family of zinc finger transcription factors, that are involved in a plethora of cellular processes, ranging from proliferation and apoptosis to differentiation, migration and pluripotency. During the last few years, evidence on their role and deregulation in different human cancers has been emerging. This review will discuss current knowledge on Krüppel-like transcription in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), invasion and metastasis, with a focus on epithelial cancer biology and the extensive interface with pluripotency. Furthermore, as KLFs are able to mediate different outcomes, important influences of the cellular and microenvironmental context will be highlighted. Finally, we attempt to integrate diverse findings on KLF functions in EMT and stem cell biology to fit in the current model of cellular plasticity as a tool for successful metastatic dissemination.

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