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Proteomics. 2008 Aug;8(16):3350-9. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200800042.

Glycosaminoglycan-binding cytokines as tumor markers.

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  • 1Department of Health Science, Faculty of Psychological and Physical Science, Aichi Gakuin University, Nisshin, Aichi, Japan. tmurama@dpc.agu.ac.jp


A significant proportion of cytokines bind to glycosaminoglycans such as heparin. Glycosaminoglycans are involved in signaling, stabilization and/or storage of these cytokines. Typical examples of glycosaminoglycan-binding cytokines are basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), interleukin-8 (IL-8), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VEGF-C, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), midkine, and pleiotrophin. All are present in the tumor microenvironment and promote tumor growth, tumor invasion and/or tumor angiogenesis. Serum or plasma levels of glycosaminoglycan-binding cytokines are frequently elevated in patients with various malignant tumors. High levels of these cytokines are usually correlated with the occurrence of metastasis and a poor prognosis. The mode of elevation of individual glycosaminoglycan-binding cytokines in patients with malignant tumors is summarized here. Further studies, especially with multiple cytokines, are expected to make assays clinically useful for both early detection and prognostic prediction.

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