Abnormalities in the expression, distribution and structural organization of A-type lamins are most commonly associated with a spectrum of inherited disorders which predominantly affect mesenchymal lineages, collectively known as laminopathies. However, a new role for lamin A has been discovered in the progression of a common epithelial cancer. CRC (colorectal cancer) patients expressing lamin A/C in their tumour tissue were found to have a 2-fold greater risk of CRC-related mortality compared with patients with lamin A/C-negative tumours. Consequently, lamin A/C is a prognostic biomarker in CRC. In vitro studies suggest that lamin A is an upstream regulator of a pathway linking actin dynamics to loss of cell adhesion, leading to enhanced cell motility and consequently increased invasive potential within a tumour. The finding that lamin A is a putative colonic epithelial stem cell biomarker suggests that the poor outcome associated with lamin A/C-positive tumours may be reflective of a more stem-cell-like phenotype. The present review discusses the link between lamin A expression and tumour progression in one of the commonest causes of cancer-related death in the Western world.

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