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Blood. 2000 Nov 15;96(10):3302-9.

Fibrinogen is an important determinant of the metastatic potential of circulating tumor cells.

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Divisions of Hematology/Oncology and Developmental Biology, Children's Hospital Research Foundation and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA.


Detailed studies of tumor cell-associated procoagulants and fibrinolytic factors have implied that local thrombin generation and fibrin deposition and dissolution may be important in tumor growth and dissemination. To directly determine whether fibrin(ogen) or plasmin(ogen) are determinants of the metastatic potential of circulating tumor cells, this study examined the impact of genetic deficits in each of these key hemostatic factors on the hematogenous pulmonary metastasis of 2 established murine tumors, Lewis lung carcinoma and the B16-BL6 melanoma. In both tumor models, fibrinogen deficiency strongly diminished, but did not prevent, the development of lung metastasis. The quantitative reduction in metastasis in fibrinogen-deficient mice was not due to any appreciable difference in tumor stroma formation or tumor growth. Rather, tumor cell fate studies indicated an important role for fibrin(ogen) in sustained adhesion and survival of tumor cells within the lung. The specific thrombin inhibitor, hirudin, further diminished the metastatic potential of circulating tumor cells in fibrinogen-deficient mice, although the inhibitor had no apparent effect on tumor cell proliferation in vitro. The absence of plasminogen and plasmin-mediated fibrinolysis had no significant impact on hematogenous metastasis. The authors concluded that fibrin(ogen) is a critical determinant of the metastatic potential of circulating tumor cells. Furthermore, thrombin appears to facilitate tumor dissemination through at least one fibrin(ogen)-independent mechanism. These findings suggest that therapeutic strategies focusing on multiple distinct hemostatic factors might be beneficial in the containment of tumor metastasis.

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