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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2011 Sep 15;143(1-2):11-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2011.05.018. Epub 2011 May 19.

Canine malignant melanoma alpha-3 integrin binding peptides.

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Division of Hematology & Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, UCD Cancer Center, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.


There is a need to develop novel targeted imaging and therapeutic agents that can aid in early diagnosis, detection of metastasis and treatment of melanoma. Alpha-3 integrin is overexpressed in 82% of metastatic melanomas in humans and may be a potential target for peptide ligands carrying therapeutic agents. Five melanoma cell lines were generated from canine primary oral and metastatic canine tumors, grown in mice, and validated with melanoma markers Melan A, S-100, Micropthalmia transcription factor (MITF), Tyrosinase, and MART-1. The melanoma cell lines were tested for binding affinity to previously published alpha-3 integrin-binding peptides containing the cdGXGXXc motif. Fluorescent conjugates of the alpha-3 integrin binding OA02 peptide were used to quantify receptor affinity in the cell lines, a specimen of canine primary oral melanoma, and melanoma xenografts. Alpha-3 integrin was expressed by all 5 canine melanoma cell lines. Four of the 5 lines as well as the primary canine tumor showed affinity to alpha-3 integrin binding peptides with the cdGXGXXc motif. Optical imaging of canine melanoma xenografts in nude mice indicates rapid, strong uptake of the optical tracer in the tumor with an average persistence of approximately 48 h. Ex vivo images showed high tumor-to-background ratio, with tumor signals more than twice that of the kidney and other vital organs. We propose that integrin alpha-3 integrin binding ligands could potentially become useful probes for imaging and delivery of cytotoxic agents for the treatment of melanoma.

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