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Cancer Res. 2004 Sep 15;64(18):6402-9.

alpha2HS-glycoprotein, an antagonist of transforming growth factor beta in vivo, inhibits intestinal tumor progression.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 is associated with tumor progression and resistance to chemotherapy in established cancers, as well as host immune suppression. Here, we show that the serum glycoprotein alpha2-HS-glycoprotein (AHSG) blocks TGF-beta1 binding to cell surface receptors, suppresses TGF-beta signal transduction, and inhibits TGF-beta-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition, suggesting that AHSG may play a role in tumor progression. In 66 consecutive sporadic human colorectal cancer specimens, we observed a 3-fold depletion of ASHG in tumor compared with normal tissue, whereas levels of other abundant plasma proteins, albumin and transferrin, were equivalent. Using the Multiple intestinal neoplasia/+ (Min/+) mouse model of intestinal tumorigenesis, we found twice as many intestinal polyps overall, twice as many large polyps (>3 mm diameter), and more progression to invasive adenocarcinoma in Min/+ Ahsg-/- mice than in littermates expressing Ahsg. Phosphorylated Smad2 was more abundant in the intestinal mucosa and tumors of Min/+ mice lacking Ahsg, demonstrating increased TGF-beta signaling in vivo. Furthermore, TGF-beta-mediated suppression of immune cell function was exaggerated in Ahsg-/- animals, as shown by inhibition of macrophage activation and reduction in 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate-induced cutaneous inflammation. Reconstitution of Ahsg-/- mice with bovine Ahsg suppressed endogenous TGF-beta-dependent signaling to wild-type levels, suggesting that therapeutic enhancement of AHSG levels may benefit patients whose tumors are driven by TGF-beta.

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