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Chest. 2003 Sep;124(3 Suppl):58S-68S.

Tissue factor, thrombin, and cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA.


In addition to its primary role in hemostasis and blood coagulation, thrombin is a potent mitogen capable of inducing cellular functions. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that thrombin has proved to be of importance in the behavior of cancer. In this review, we focus on the ability of tissue factor (TF) and thrombin to influence tumor angiogenesis. Both exert their influence on angiogenesis through clotting-dependent and clotting-independent mechanisms: (1). directly affecting signaling pathways that mediate cell functions, and (2). mediating clot formation, thereby providing a growth media for tumor cells. Therefore, anticoagulant drugs may prove efficacious in cancer treatment due to their ability to reduce the characteristic hypercoagulability of cancer and alter the fundamental biology of cancer.

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