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Int J Oncol. 2012 Feb;40(2):479-86. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.1257. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

Human choriocarcinomas: placental growth factor-dependent preclinical tumor models.

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  • 1Genzyme Corporation, 49 New York Ave., Framingham, MA 01701-9322, USA.


Choriocarcinomas are a rare form of cancer that develops in the uterus from tissue which would normally become the placenta. Choriocarcinomas are a trophoblastic gestational disease and have been studied largely to investigate conditions related to pregnancy such as preeclampsia. Choriocarcinomas are highly angiogenic and produce high levels of placental growth factor (PlGF) to promote the development of blood vessels. Upregulation of PlGF expression also occurs during the development of other human malignancies such as breast cancer and melanoma. Both tumor specimens and plasma samples have higher levels of PlGF than normal tissues. Hence, PlGF has emerged as a valid target for anti-angiogenic therapy. The cell lines BeWo, JAR and JEG-3, derived from human choriocarcinomas, were investigated in vitro and in vivo for suitability as PlGF-dependent models. BeWo, JAR and JEG-3 cells were characterized in culture and were implanted into immunodeficient mice to generate subcutaneous tumors. The PlGF and VEGF angiogenic profiles of the choriocarcinoma cells and tumors were investigated by ELISA and by immunohistochemical methods. Double immunofluorescence methods were applied to choriocarcinoma xenograft sections to characterize the cellular components of the blood vessels. sFLT01, a fusion protein that neutralizes PlGF, was assessed in cell culture experiments and xenograft studies. The novel results presented here validate the importance of human choriocarcinoma cell lines and xenografts in further exploring the role of PlGF in tumor angiogenesis, for evaluating PlGF as an anti-angiogenic target, and for developing therapies that may provide clinical benefit.

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