Aggressive behaviors of trophoblasts during embryo implantation resemble to those of malignant tumor cells. As much as 20-40% of all epithelial cancers in humans express human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), a marker for trophoblast. Therefore it is not surprising if some mechanisms are shared by cancer and trophoblast. However, the molecular basis of human embryo implantation is not well understood due to difficulties in studying the process in humans. Mechanisms of human embryo implantation are unique, as are features of trophoblastic cancer. This review describes trophinin, a cell adhesion/signaling protein, and its associated proteins, bystin and tastin, the proteins potentially involved in human embryo implantation, and presents examples of trophinin-expressing cancers.
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