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Home >Information for Patients > Dictionary Index

Dictionary of Cancer Terms

View in Spanish: Vía de señalización

Signaling pathway (SIG-nuh-ling …)
Describes a group of molecules in a cell that work together to control one or more cell functions, such as cell division or cell death. After the first molecule in a pathway receives a signal, it activates another molecule. This process is repeated until the last molecule is activated and the cell function involved is carried out. Abnormal activation of signaling pathways can lead to cancer, and drugs are being developed to block these pathways. This may help block cancer cell growth and kill cancer cells.



 
 
Source: National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Cancer Terms, available at www.cancer.gov/dictionary.