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J Gastrointest Cancer. 2008;39(1-4):149-58. doi: 10.1007/s12029-009-9058-y. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

The tumor suppressor function of human sulfatase 1 (SULF1) in carcinogenesis.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Human sulfatase 1 (SULF1) was recently identified and shown to desulfate cellular heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs). Since sulfated HSPGs serve as co-receptors for many growth factors and cytokines, SULF1 was predicted to modulate growth factor and cytokine signaling.


The role of SULF1 in growth factor signaling and its effects on human tumorigenesis are under active investigation. Initial results show that SULF1 inhibits the co-receptor function of HSPGs in multiple receptor tyrosine kinase signaling pathways, particularly by the heparin binding growth factors--fibroblast growth factor 2, vascular endothelial growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, PDGF, and heparin-binding epidermal growth factor (HB-EGF). SULF1 is downregulated in the majority of cancer cell lines examined, and forced expression of SULF1 decreases cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. SULF1 also promotes drug-induced apoptosis of cancer cells in vitro and inhibits tumorigenesis and angiogenesis in vivo.


Strategies targeting SULF1 or the interaction between SULF1 and the related sulfatase 2 will potentially be important in developing novel cancer therapies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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