Non-receptor tyrosine kinases (NRTKs) are crucial mediators of intracellular signaling and control a wide variety of processes such as cell division, morphogenesis, and motility. Aberrant NRTK-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation has been linked to various human disorders and diseases, among them cancer metastasis, to which no treatment presently exists. Invasive cancer cells leaving the primary tumor use invadopodia, feet-like structures which facilitate extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation and intravasation, to escape the primary tumor and disseminate into distant tissues and organs during metastasis. A major challenge in metastasis research is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways underlying invadopodia regulation, as the general belief is that targeting these structures can potentially lead to the eradication of cancer metastasis. Non-receptor tyrosine kinases (NRTKs) play a central role in regulating invadopodia formation and function, but how they coordinate the signaling leading to these processes was not clear until recently. Here, we describe the major NRTKs that rule invadopodia and how they work in concert while keeping an accurate hierarchy to control tumor cell invasiveness and dissemination.
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