The extra-domain A of fibronectin is a vascular marker of solid tumors and metastases

Jascha N. Rybak, Christoph Roesli, Manuela Kaspar, Alessandra Villa, Dario Neri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most promising new avenues for the development of more selective and efficacious cancer therapies relies on the antibody-mediated targeted delivery of bioactive agents (e.g., cytokines) to the tumor environment. The identification of quantitative differences in the expression of accessible vascular proteins in metastatic lesions and host organs facilitate the development of antibody-based strategies, which should be highly efficient and selective, considering the fact that an over-exuberant neovasculature is a characteristic feature of aggressive cancers, and that tumor blood vessels are readily accessible for i.v. administered therapeutic agents. Metastasis is the main cause of death in cancer. The availability of metastasis-specific antigens accessible from the bloodstream will allow a selective delivery of therapeutic agents to metastatic lesions using antibodies as vehicles. Using a combination of vascular biotinylation of 129Sv mice bearing F9 liver metastases and mass spectrometry, we have identified 435 accessible proteins in metastasis and host organ specimens, of which 117 were exclusively detected in metastases. In particular, we found that the alternatively spliced extra-domain A (EDA) of fibronectin is strongly expressed in the neovasculature of liver metastases, while being undetectable in most normal organs. A human antibody to EDA was used to show EDA expression in the neovasculature of metastases and primary tumors of human cancer patients and to target mouse liver metastases and subcutaneous tumors in vivo. Human antibody fragments specific to the EDA domain of fibronectin promise to serve as general vehicles for the efficient and selective delivery of imaging agents or therapeutic molecules to metastatic sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10948-10957
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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