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Angiogenesis. 2014 Oct;17(4):897-907. doi: 10.1007/s10456-014-9437-2. Epub 2014 Jul 2.

TM4SF1: a new vascular therapeutic target in cancer.

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The Center for Vascular Biology Research, Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, RN-280D, Boston, MA, 02215, USA.


Transmembrane-4 L-six family member-1 (TM4SF1) is a small plasma membrane glycoprotein that regulates cell motility and proliferation. TM4SF1 is an attractive cancer target because of its high expression in both tumor cells and on the vascular endothelial cells lining tumor blood vessels. We generated mouse monoclonal antibodies against human TM4SF1 in order to evaluate their therapeutic potential; 13 of the antibodies we generated reacted with extracellular loop-2 (EL2), TM4SF1's larger extracellular, lumen-facing domain. However, none of these antibodies reacted with mouse TM4SF1, likely because the EL2 of mouse TM4SF1 differs significantly from that of its human counterpart. Therefore, to test our antibodies in vivo, we employed an established model of engineered human vessels in which human endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFC) and human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are incorporated into Matrigel plugs that are implanted subcutaneously in immunodeficient nude mice. We modified the original protocol by (1) preculturing human ECFC on laminin, fibronectin, and collagen-coated plates, and (2) increasing the ECFC/MSC ratio. These modifications significantly increased the human vascular network in Matrigel implants. Two injections of one of our anti-TM4SF1 EL2 monoclonal antibodies, 8G4, effectively eliminated the human vascular component present in these plugs; they also abrogated human PC3 prostate cancer cells that were incorporated into the ECFC/MSC Matrigel mix. Together, these studies provide a mouse model for assessing tumor xenografts that are supplied by a human vascular network and demonstrate that anti-TM4SF1 antibodies such as 8G4 hold promise for cancer therapy.

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