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G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are among the most diverse and ubiquitous proteins in all of biology. The epidermal growth factorseven span transmembrane (EGF-TM7) subfamily of adhesion GPCRs is a small subset whose members are mainly expressed on the surface of leukocytes. The EGF domains on the N-terminus add significant size to these receptors and they are considered to be among the largest members of the TM7 family. Although not all of their ligands or downstream targets have been identified, there is evidence implicating the EGF-TM7 family diverse processes such as cell adhesion, migration, inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Recent studies have identified expression of EGF-TM7 family members on human neoplasms including those of the thyroid, stomach, colon, and brain. Their presence on these tissues is not surprising given the ubiquity of GPCRs, but because their functional significance and pathways are not completely understood, they are of tremendous clinical and scientific interest. Current evidence suggests that expression of certain EGF-TM7 receptors is correlated with tumor grade, confers a more invasive phenotype, and increases the likelihood of metastatic disease. In this review, we will discuss the structure, function, and regulation of these receptors. We also describe the expression of these receptors in human cancers and explore their potential mechanistic significance.
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