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Cancer Cell. 2003 Jul;4(1):19-29.

Induction of tumor angiogenesis by Slit-Robo signaling and inhibition of cancer growth by blocking Robo activity.

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Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 200031, Shanghai, China.


Slit is a secreted protein known to function through the Roundabout (Robo) receptor as a chemorepellent in axon guidance and neuronal migration, and as an inhibitor in leukocyte chemotaxis. Here we show Slit2 expression in a large number of solid tumors and Robo1 expression in vascular endothelial cells. Recombinant Slit2 protein attracted endothelial cells and promoted tube formation in a Robo1- and phosphatidylinositol kinase-dependent manner. Neutralization of Robo1 reduced the microvessel density and the tumor mass of human malignant melanoma A375 cells in vivo. These findings demonstrate the angiogenic function of Slit-Robo signaling, reveal a mechanism in mediating the crosstalk between cancer cells and endothelial cells, and indicate the effectiveness of blocking this signaling pathway in treating cancers.

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