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Osteopontin: a new role for a familiar actor

Nicholas IF Johnston and Mohamed K El-Tanani*

Author Affiliations

Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK

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Breast Cancer Research 2008, 10:306  doi:10.1186/bcr2199

Published: 1 December 2008


Our understanding of the events that occur in cancer progression has been enhanced by the use of cell lines in vitro. Changes in gene expression, induction of signalling, and cell motility can all be investigated in this setting. However, other aspects of progression can be revealed only in vivo, especially the interactions of tumour cells with host cells and organ systems. In one such in vivo model, described by McAllister and colleagues, it proved possible to establish a novel function of an already well-characterised protein, osteopontin, adding to its attractiveness as a target in cancer therapy.