Potential angiogenic role of platelet-activating factor in human breast cancer

Giuseppe Montrucchio, Anna Sapino, Benedetta Bussolati, Gianpiero Ghisolfi, Simona Rizea-Savu, Luigi Silvestro, Enrico Lupia, Giovanni Camussi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the presence of platelet-activating factor (PAF) in the lipid extracts of 18 primary breast carcinomas and 20 control breast tissues. The amount of PAF detected in breast carcinomas was significantly higher than in controls. The mass spectrometric analysis of PAF-bioactive lipid extract from breast carcinomas showed the presence of several molecular species of PAF, including C16-alkylPAF, C18-lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), C16-LPC, lyso-PAF, and C16-acylPAF. The amount of bioactive PAF extracted from breast specimens significantly correlated with tumor vascularization revealed by the number of CD34 and CD31-positive cells. As C16-alkylPAF was previously shown to induce angiogenesis in vivo, we evaluated whether the thin layer chromatography-purified lipid extracts of breast specimens elicited neoangiogenesis in a murine model of subcutaneous Matrigel injection. The lipid extracts from specimens of breast carcinoma containing high levels of PAF bioactivity, but not from breast carcinomas containing low levels of PAF bioactivity or from normal breast tissue, induced a significant angiogenic response. This angiogenic response was significantly inhibited by the PAF receptor antagonist WEB 2170. T47D and MCF7 breast cancer cell lines, but not an immortalized nontumor breast cell line (MCF10), released PAF in the culture medium. A significant in vivo neoangiogenic response, inhibited by WEB 2170, was elicited by T47D and MCF7 but not by MCF10 culture medium. These results indicate that an increased concentration of PAF is present in tumors with high microvessel density and that PAF may account for the neoangiogenic activity induced in mice by the lipid extracts obtained from breast cancer. A contribution of PAF in the neovascularization of human breast cancer is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1589-1596
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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