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Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Apr 1;11(7):2651-61.

Anti-flt1 peptide, a vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1-specific hexapeptide, inhibits tumor growth and metastasis.

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Department of Life Science, Division of Molecular and Life Sciences, Postech Biotech Center, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, Korea.



The purpose of this study was to develop antagonists specific for the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) and to investigate the effects of the antagonists on the VEGF-induced endothelial cell functions and tumor progression.


Hexapeptides that inhibit binding of VEGFR1 and VEGF were identified through screening of synthetic peptide library. A selected peptide, anti-Flt1, was investigated for binding specificity with various receptors and ligand peptides. Effects of the peptide on proliferation, cell migration, and fibrin gel-based angiogenesis of endothelial cells were also investigated. The activity of anti-Flt1, in vivo, was evaluated for inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis in VEGF-secreting cancer cell-implanted mice by s.c. injections of the peptide.


Here, we report on a short peptide that binds to VEGFR1 and prevents binding of VEGF. A hexapeptide, anti-Flt1 (Gly-Asn-Gln-Trp-Phe-Ile or GNQWFI), was identified from peptide libraries. The anti-Flt1 peptide shows specificity toward binding to VEGFR1 and it inhibits binding of VEGF, placental growth factor (PlGF), and VEGF/PlGF heterodimer to VEGFR1. This peptide does not inhibit the proliferation of endothelial cells induced by VEGF and VEGF/PlGF heterodimer but it effectively blocks VEGF-induced migration of endothelial cells and their capacity to form capillary-like structures on fibrin gel-based in vitro angiogenesis system. Furthermore, growth and metastasis of VEGF-secreting tumor cells were also significantly inhibited by s.c. injections of anti-Flt1 peptide in nude mice. Accordingly, VEGF-induced migration and capillary formation are mediated through VEGFR1, and these processes may play an important role in the growth and metastasis of VEGF-secreting tumors.


We show that a peptide (anti-Flt1) specific for VEGFR1 inhibits growth and metastasis of tumor that secretes VEGF. The effects on endothelial cell functions, in vitro, indicate that the anticancer activity of anti-Flt1 peptide with reduced blood vessel density could also be due to the blocking of VEGFR1-mediated endothelial cell migration and tube formation. Although the effects of anti-Flt1 peptide still remain to be further characterized, the receptor 1-specific peptide antagonist, anti-Flt1, has potential as a therapeutic agent for various angiogenesis-related diseases, especially cancer.

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