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The potential role of the heparin-binding growth factor pleiotrophin in breast cancer


We propose that the secreted protein pleiotrophin (PTN) is a major factor in the malignant progression of breast cancer. This hypothesis is based on the growth-stimulatory effects of PTN on cellsin vitro andin vivo and on its high levels of expression in 60% of tumor samples from breast cancer patients. The stimulation of proliferation and tube formation of endothelial cells by PTN suggests that it can serve as an angiogenesis factor during tumor growth. We hypothesize that PTN has the potential to support growth of breast cancer at its primary site and to enhance the ability of tumor cells to metastasize. Furthermore, we suggest that specific endocrine signals interact to regulate the expression of PTNin vitro andin vivo. Finally, we propose that understanding the functions of PTN and its hormonal regulation can lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for breast cancer.

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Correspondence to Anton Wellstein.

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Tate Riegel, A., Wellstein, A. The potential role of the heparin-binding growth factor pleiotrophin in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Tr 31, 309–314 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00666163

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  • Public Health
  • Breast Cancer
  • Tumor Cell
  • Growth Factor
  • Endothelial Cell