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Am J Pathol. 2000 Nov;157(5):1713-25.

PAF produced by human breast cancer cells promotes migration and proliferation of tumor cells and neo-angiogenesis.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.


Platelet-activating factor (PAF), a phospholipid mediator of inflammation, is present in breast cancer tissue and correlates with microvessel density. In the present study, we investigated the biological significance of PAF synthesized within breast cancer. In vitro, we observed the production of PAF by two estrogen-dependent (MCF7 and T-47D) and an estrogen-independent (MDA-MB231) breast cancer cell lines after stimulation with vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, tumor necrosis factor, thrombin but not with estrogen, progesterone, and oxytocin. The sensitivity to agonist stimulation and the amount of PAF synthesized as cell-associated or released varied in different cell lines, being higher in MDA-MB231 cells, which are known to be highly invasive. We further demonstrate, by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and cytofluorimetry, that all of the breast cancer cells express the PAF receptor and respond to PAF stimulation in terms of proliferation. Moreover, in MDA-MB231 cells PAF elicited cell motility. In vivo, two structurally different PAF receptor antagonists WEB 2170 and CV 3988 significantly reduced the formation of new vessels in a tumor induced by subcutaneous implantation of MDA-MB231 cells into SCID mice. In conclusion, these results suggest that PAF, produced and released by breast cancer cells, can contribute to tumor development by enhancing cell motility and proliferation and by stimulating the angiogenic response.

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