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Mol Cancer Ther. 2008 Sep;7(9):2817-27. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-08-0301.

16-kDa fragment of pleiotrophin acts on endothelial and breast tumor cells and inhibits tumor development.

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  • 1INSERM U745, Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Université Paris V, 4 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75006 Paris, France.


Pleiotrophin (PTN) is a 136-amino acid secreted heparin-binding protein that is considered as a rate-limiting growth and an angiogenic factor in the onset, invasion, and metastatic process of many tumors. Its mitogenic and tumorigenic activities are mediated by the COOH-terminal residues 111 to 136 of PTN, allowing it to bind to cell surface tyrosine kinase-linked receptors. We investigated a new strategy consisting in evaluating the antitumor effect of a truncated PTN, lacking the COOH-terminal 111 to 136 portion of the molecule (PTNDelta111-136), which may act as a dominant-negative effector for its mitogenic, angiogenic, and tumorigenic activities by heterodimerizing with the wild-type protein. In vitro studies showed that PTNDelta111-136 selectively inhibited a PTN-dependent MDA-MB-231 breast tumor and endothelial cell proliferation and that, in MDA-MB-231 cells expressing PTNDelta111-136, the vascular endothelial growth factor-A and hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha mRNA levels were significantly decreased by 59% and 71%, respectively, compared with levels in wild-type cells. In vivo, intramuscular electrotransfer of a plasmid encoding a secretable form of PTNDelta111-136 was shown to inhibit MDA-MB-231 tumor growth by 81%. This antitumor effect was associated with the detection of the PTNDelta111-136 molecule in the muscle and tumor extracts, the suppression of neovascularization within the tumors, and a decline in the Ki-67 proliferative index. Because PTN is rarely found in normal tissue, our data show that targeted PTN may represent an attractive and new therapeutic approach to the fight against cancer.

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