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Free Radic Biol Med. 1997;22(3):573-8.

The importance of L-arginine metabolism in melanoma: an hypothesis for the role of nitric oxide and polyamines in tumor angiogenesis.

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Department of Dermatology, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


There is a worldwide increase in the incidence of melanoma. Without treatment, melanomas can progress to metastatic disease and result in death. It is now accepted that for a tumor to grow, non-tumorous host tissue must form blood vessels in and around the tumor. Tumor cells and blood vessels must form a highly regulated system whereby endothelial cells can be switched from a resting state to one of rapid growth. Tumor cells have been shown to produce diffusible angiogenic regulatory molecules. Nitric oxide [NO] and polyamines [PA] have been implicated in the angiogenic process. This paper hypothesizes that NO and PA regulate melanoma angiogenesis differently. During early stages of malignant melanoma an increase in PA synthesis is expected to promote endothelial cell proliferation and therefore angiogenesis. NO is expected to be maintained at low levels. During the vascular stage of malignant melanoma, NO synthesis is hypothesized to be elevated which will decrease endothelial cell proliferation and maintain a vasodilator tone in and around the tumor. PA concentrations are expected to be lower. A regulatory link between NO and PA may be involved in the maintenance of tumor homeostasis. The regulation of L-arginine metabolism in tumor angiogenesis requires investigation as it may lead to novel selective therapeutic interventions in cancer therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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