Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis by angiostatin: From recombinant protein to gene therapy

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Tumor growth, local invasion, and metastatic dissemination are dependent on the formation of new microvessels. The process of angiogenesis is regulated by a balance between pro-angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors, and the shift to an angiogenic phenotype (the "angiogenic switch") is a key event in tumor progression. The use of anti-angiogenic agents to restore this balance represents a promising approach to cancer treatment. Known physiological inhibitors include trombospondin, several interleukins, and the proteolytic break-down products of several proteins. Angiostatin, an internal fragment of plasminogen, is one of the more potent of this latter class of angiogenesis inhibitors. Like endostatin, another anti-angiogenic peptide derived from collagen XVIII, angiostatin can induce tumor vasculature regression, leading to a complete cessation of tumor growth. Inhibitors of angiogenesis target normal endothelial cells, therefore the development of resistance to these drugs is unlikely. The efficacy of angiostatin has been demonstrated in animal models for many different types of solid tumors. Anti-angiogenic cancer therapy with angiostatin requires prolonged administration of the peptide. The production of the functional polypeptides is expensive and technical problems related to physical properties and purity are frequently encountered. Gene transfer represents an alternative method to deliver angiostatin. Gene therapy has the potential to produce the therapeutic agent in high concentrations in a local area for a sustained period, thereby avoiding the problems encountered with long-term administration of recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies, or anti-angiogenic drugs. In this review we compare the different gene therapy strategies that have been applied to angiostatin, with special regard to their ability to provide sufficient angiostatin at the target site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
JournalEndothelium: Journal of Endothelial Cell Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Angiogenesis
  • Angiostatin
  • Gene therapy
  • Plasminogen
  • Tumor vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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