Research highlight

Unexpected tumour growth?

Nature Medicine

March 23, 2009

Blood vessel Inhibitors have been pursued as anticancer agents, but in low doses they may actually promote blood-vessel formation and tumour growth in mice. The results, published online in Nature Medicine this week, call for a reassessment of these inhibitors as anticancer agents, with implications for their potential use in humans.

Certain inhibitors of integrins ― cell surface receptors that define cellular shape, mobility, and regulate the cell cycle ― have entered clinical trials as agents for cancer treatment, owing to their ability to prevent angiogenesis (blood-vessel growth), but their success has been limited. Andrew Reynolds, Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke and their colleagues show that low concentrations of integrin inhibitors can paradoxically stimulate tumour growth and tumour angiogenesis by altering the trafficking of one specific integrin and of a well known proangiogenic molecule.

doi: 10.1038/nm.1941

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