Antitumor efficacy of the heparanase inhibitor SST0001 alone and in combination with antiangiogenic agents in the treatment of human pediatric sarcoma models

G. Cassinelli, C. Lanzi, M. Tortoreto, D. Cominetti, G. Petrangolini, E. Favini, N. Zaffaroni, C. Pisano, S. Penco, I. Vlodavsky, F. Zunino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The activity of heparanase is responsible for heparan sulfate cleavage, thus resulting in the release of heparan sulfate-bound growth factors. Since heparanase activity is upregulated in several tumor types and is implicated in the malignant behavior, the enzyme is regarded as a promising target for antitumor therapy. Based on previous evidence that the heparanase inhibitor SST0001, a non-anticoagulant N-acetylated glycol split heparin, is effective against an Ewing's sarcoma model, the present study was performed to extend the preclinical evaluation of SST0001 to a panel of pediatric sarcoma models, representative of various tumor histotypes (soft tissue and bone sarcomas) and to further elucidate its mode of action. SST0001 treatment downregulated several angiogenic factors in the conditioned media of sarcoma cells, inhibited the pro-invasive effect of heparin-binding factors (VEGF, bFGF, HGF, PDGF), and abrogated PDGF receptor tyrosine phosphorylation. Subcutaneous administration of SST0001 was very effective, resulting in a significant growth inhibition (range, 64-95%) of all tested tumor xenografts. The efficacy of SST0001 was enhanced in combination with antiangiogenic agents (bevacizumab, sunitinib) as documented by the high rate of complete response. The synergistic effect of SST0001 in combination with antiangiogenic agents is consistent with the heparanase mode of action and with the relevant role of heparin-binding proangiogenic/growth factors in the malignant behavior of sarcoma cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1424-1432
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2013



  • Antiangiogenic agents
  • Antitumor activity
  • Heparanase inhibitor
  • Pediatric sarcomas
  • SST0001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry

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