PloS one 2018 03 2213(3) e0194744 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0194744
Heparan sulfate proteoglycans, HSPGs, modulate major transformations of cancer cells, leading to tumor growth, invasion and metastasis. HSPGs also regulate neo-angiogenesis which prompts cancer progression and metastatic spread. A different aspect of heparin and analogs is their prominent role in the coagulation of blood. The interplay between coagulation and metastasis is being actively studied: anticoagulants such as heparin-derivatives have anticancer activity and procoagulants, such as thrombin, positively modulate proliferation, migration and invasion. The branched peptide NT4 binds to HSPGs and targets selectively cancer cells and tissues. For this, it had been extensively investigated in the last years and it proved to be efficient as chemotherapeutic and tumor tracer in in vivo models of cancer. We investigated the effects of the branched peptide in terms of modulation of angiogenesis and invasiveness of cancer cells. NT4 proved to have a major impact on endothelial cell proliferation, migration and tube formation, particularly when induced by FGF2 and thrombin. In addition, NT4 had important effects on aggressive tumor cells migration and invasion and it also had an anticoagulant profile.The peptide showed very interesting evidence of interference with tumor invasion pathways, offering a cue for its development as a tumor-targeting drug, and also for its use in the study of links between coagulation and tumor progression involving HSPGs.