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Identifying cancer biomarkers and chemotherapeutic targets has become an essential task for the successful treatment of cancer. In this chapter we describe how elucidating mechanisms that underlie contact normalization – the ability of non-transformed cells to normalize the growth and morphology of neighboring tumor cells – can be used to help identify these targets and elucidate their roles in transformed cell growth and migration. Contact normalization is mediated by junctional communication between transformed and non-transformed cells. Here, we describe the potential roles of cadherens junctions and gap junctions in this process. In addition, we describe recent findings of novel tumor suppressors and tumor promoters, including Fhl1, Sdpr, Pdpn and specific miRNA species, that are affected by contact normalization. The study of contact normalization can guide us toward more specific ways to diagnose and treat cancer in an efficient manner, as well as understand molecular mechanisms behind its pathophysiology.

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