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EPCAMA gene on chromosome 2p21 that encodes a carcinoma-associated antigen expressed on most normal epithelial cells and gastrointestinal carcinomas, which functions as a homotypic calcium-independent cell adhesion molecule. EPCAM is thought to function as a relay molecule between intestinal epithelial cells and intraepithelial lymphocytes at the mucosa, providing an immune barrier to infection. It is of interest in oncology as a target for cancer immunotherapy. It upregulates expression of FABP5, MYC and cyclins A and E.
Defects in EPCAM cause congenital tufting enteropathy (diarrhoea type 5).