Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer Lett. 2010 Feb 1;288(1):10-6. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2009.05.027. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) in human neoplasias: a new protein enters the scene.

Author information

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Messina, Italy.


The small 25 kDa peptide, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), first known as an antibacterial factor of natural immunity, and an acute phase protein, is currently one of the most interesting and enigmatic proteins involved in the process of tumor development. The aim of the present review is to point out the main contradictory, sometimes even paradoxical, effects attributed to NGAL in human neoplasias. For instance, acting as an intracellular iron carrier and protecting MMP9 from proteolytic degradation, NGAL has a clear pro-tumoral effect, as has already been observed in different tumors (e.g. breast, stomach, oesophagus, brain) in humans. Moreover, in thyroid carcinomas, NGAL is strongly induced by NF-kB, an important factor involved both in tumor growth and in the link between chronic inflammation and neoplastic development. However, on the contrary, some studies have demonstrated that NGAL can inhibit the pro-neoplastic factor HIF-1alpha, FA-Kinase phosphorylation and also VEGF synthesis, thus suggesting that, in alternative conditions, NGAL also, paradoxically, has an anti-tumoral and anti-metastatic effect in neoplasias of, for example, the colon, ovary and pancreas. Finally, in the field of clinical oncology, attention is currently focused on the potential use of NGAL levels in making an early diagnosis, establishing a prognosis and predicting response to different treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center