Recombinant platelet factor 4: A therapeutic, anti-neoplastic chimera?

Giuseppe Lippi, Emmanuel J Favaloro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Angiogenesis plays a pivotal role in many serious and life-threatening disorders (e.g., cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, psoriasis, nephropathy, and retinopathy) and is regulated by a delicate equilibrium between a variety of pro- and anti-angiogenic factors. Although recombinant platelet factor 4 (PF4) was originally developed and evaluated as a clinical alternative to protamine for heparin neutralization, the current scientific evidence supports a role for this protein and derivative peptides in inhibiting tumor growth and spread, by suppression of tumor-induced neovascularization in many different types of solid tumors. As a heparin-binding tetramer, recombinant PF4 interferes with several steps of endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis, regulates apoptotic death through activation of distinct signal transduction pathways, inhibits growth factor receptor binding, amplifies the inflammatory response of natural killer cells through regulation of cytokines production, and induces and maintains a nonspecific immune response to cancer cells. These biological evidences paved the way for the development and marketing of novel PF4-based angiostatic agents characterized by reduced toxicity and improved bioavailability, thus raising the possibility of an alternative approach for preventing and treating growth and metastasis of tumors. Some PF4-derived molecules such as carboxyl-terminal fragments of recombinant human PF4 and modified and chimeric peptides have already been developed that exhibit stronger anti-angiogenic properties than the parent molecule and may serve as leads for further therapeutic developments. Newer means of delivering of this anti-angiogenic agent are also being attempted, including PF4-bearing polymeric microspheres, vector-mediated PF4 transduction, transgene transfection into oncolytic viruses, and molecular targeting therapy against PF4 and rHuPF4 conjugates. These delivery systems aim to produce high concentrations of the therapeutic agent in a local area for a sustained period, thereby avoiding the typical problems encountered with long-term administration of recombinant proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-569
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'Recombinant platelet factor 4: A therapeutic, anti-neoplastic chimera?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this