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Br J Cancer. 2011 May 10;104(10):1628-40. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.134. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

A role for nucleotides in support of breast cancer angiogenesis: heterologous receptor signalling.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Centre for Molecular Medicine, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Mail Stop 573, Reno, NV 89557, USA.



Human breast carcinoma cells secrete an adenosine 5'-diphosphate transphosphorylase (sNDPK) known to induce endothelial cell tubulogenesis in a P2Y receptor-dependent manner. We examined sNDPK secretion and its effects on human endothelial cells.


Nucleoside diphosphate kinase (NDPK) secretion was measured by western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, while transphosphorylase activity was measured using the luciferin-luciferase ATP assay. Activation of MAPK was determined by western blot analysis, immunofluorescence and endothelial cell proliferation and migration.


A panel of breast cancer cell lines with origin as ductal carcinoma, adenocarcinoma or medullary carcinoma, secrete sNDPK-A/B. Addition of purified NDPK-B to endothelial cultures activated VEGFR-2 and Erk(1/2), both of which were blocked by inhibitors of NDPK and P2Y receptors. Activation of VEGFR-2 and ErK(1/2) by 2-methylthio-ATP (2MeS-ATP) was blocked by pretreatment with the P2Y(1)-specific antagonist MRS2179, the proto-oncogene non-receptor tyrosine kinase (Src) inhibitor PP2 or the VEGFR-2 antagonist SU1498. Nucleoside diphosphate kinase-B stimulates cell growth and migration in a concentration-dependent manner comparable to the effect of vascular endothelial growth factor. Treatment of endothelial cells with either NDPK-B or 2MeS-ATP induced migration, blocked by P2Y(1), Src or VEGFR-2 antagonists.


sNDPK supports angiogenesis. Understanding the mechanism of action of sNDPK and P2Y(1) nucleotide signalling in metastasis and angiogenesis represent new therapeutic targets for anti-angiogenic therapies to benefit patients.

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