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Cancer Cell. 2008 Apr;13(4):331-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2008.01.029.

Blocking neuropilin-2 function inhibits tumor cell metastasis.

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Tumor Biology and Angiogenesis, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.


Metastasis, which commonly uses lymphatics, accounts for much of the mortality associated with cancer. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C coreceptor, neuropilin-2 (Nrp2), modulates but is not necessary for developmental lymphangiogenesis, and its significance for metastasis is unknown. An antibody to Nrp2 that blocks VEGFC binding disrupts VEGFC-induced lymphatic endothelial cell migration, but not proliferation, in part independently of VEGF receptor activation. It does not affect established lymphatics in normal adult mice but reduces tumoral lymphangiogenesis and, importantly, functional lymphatics associated with tumors. It also reduces metastasis to sentinel lymph nodes and distant organs, apparently by delaying the departure of tumor cells from the primary tumor. Our results demonstrate that Nrp2, which was originally identified as an axon-guidance receptor, is an attractive target for modulating metastasis.

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