A PK2/Bv8/PROK2 antagonist suppresses tumorigenic processes by inhibiting angiogenesis in glioma and blocking myeloid cell infiltration in pancreatic cancer.
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In many cancer types, infiltration of bone marrow-derived myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment is often associated with enhanced angiogenesis and tumor progression, resulting in poor prognosis. The polypeptide chemokine PK2 (Bv8) regulates myeloid cell mobilization from the bone marrow, leading to activation of angiogenesis as well as accumulation of macrophages and neutrophils in the tumor site. Neutralizing antibodies against PK2 display potent anti-tumor efficacy, illustrating the potential of PK2-antagonists as therapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer. However, antibody-based therapies can be too large to treat certain diseases and too expensive to manufacture while small molecule therapeutics are not prohibitive in these ways. In this study, we demonstrate the anti-tumor activity of a small molecule PK2 antagonist, PKRA7, in the contexts of glioblastoma and pancreatic cancer xenograft tumor models. In the highly vascularized glioblastoma, PKRA7 decreased blood vessel density while increasing necrotic areas in the tumor mass. Consistent with the anti-angiogenic activity of PKRA7 in vivo, this compound effectively reduced PK2-induced microvascular endothelial cell branching in vitro. For the poorly vascularized pancreatic cancer, the primary anti-tumor effect of PKRA7 is mediated by the blockage of myeloid cell migration and infiltration. At the molecular level, PKRA7 inhibits PK2-induced expression of several pro-migratory chemokines and chemokine receptors in macrophages. Combining PKRA7 treatment with standard chemotherapeutic agents resulted in enhanced effects in xenograft models for both glioblastoma and pancreatic tumors. Taken together, our results indicate that the anti-tumor activity of PKRA7 can be mediated by distinct mechanisms that are relevant to the pathological features of the specific type of cancer. This small molecule PK2 antagonist holds the promise to be further developed as an effective agent for combinational cancer therapy.
Curtis, Valerie Forbes (2011). A PK2/Bv8/PROK2 antagonist suppresses tumorigenic processes by inhibiting angiogenesis in glioma and blocking myeloid cell infiltration in pancreatic cancer. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/4982.
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