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Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2007 Dec;26(3-4):421-31.

Targeting endothelial and tumor cells with semaphorins.

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Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Karp Family Research Laboratories, 12.211, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Neuropilins (NRP) are receptors for the class 3 semaphorin (SEMA3) family of axon guidance molecules and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family of angiogenesis factors. Although the seminal studies on SEMA3s and NRPs first showed them to be mediators of axon guidance, it has become very apparent that these proteins play an important role in vascular and tumor biology as well. Neuronal guidance and angiogenesis are regulated similarly at the molecular level. For example, SEMA3s not only repel neurons and collapse axon growth cones, but have similar effects on endothelial cells and tumor cells. Preclinical studies indicate that SEMA3F is a potent inhibitor of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. In addition, neutralizing antibodies to NRP1 enhance the effects of anti-VEGF antibodies in suppressing tumor growth in xenograft models. This article reviews NRP and SEMA3 structural interactions and their role in developmental angiogenesis, tumor angiogenesis and metastasis based on cell culture, zebrafish and murine studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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