Peptide Inhibitors of Pancreatic Cancer?
by Michael Pennington
Cancer cells with a high metastatic potential and stem cell-like characteristics express the cell surface marker CD44. CD44 isoforms that include the v6 exon are co-receptors for the receptor tyrosine kinases MET and VEGFR2. In a recent report (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001650851501519X ) from researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, animal studies utilizing peptides derived from the V6 exon have been studied in xenograft tumor models. Peptide inhibitors of CD44v6 isoforms block tumor growth and metastasis in several independent models of pancreatic cancer. The v6 peptides induced regression of metastases. Levels of CD44v6 mRNA are increased, along with those of MET mRNA, in patients with metastatic pancreatic tumors, compared with non-metastatic tumors; the increased levels correlated with shorter patient survival time.