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FEBS Lett. 1991 Oct 21;291(2):229-32.

Hepatocyte growth factor has potent anti-proliferative activity in various tumor cell lines.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has potent mitogenic activity for mature hepatocytes and various normal epithelial cells. We now have evidence that HGF at 1-10 ng/ml, strongly inhibits the growth of HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells, B6/F1 melanoma cells and KB squamous carcinoma cells. These tumor cells express high affinity receptors for HGF with a Kd of 25-28 pM, similar to findings with hepatocytes. HGF at 1-100 ng/ml had no significant cytolytic effect on tumor cells. Therefore, the anti-proliferative effect of HGF on tumor cells seems to be cytostatic, not cytolytic. As HGF apparently has bidirectional effects on cell growth, the possibility that it can serve as an anti-tumor agent merits attention.

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