CTGF is a therapeutic target for metastatic melanoma.
Finger EC., Cheng C-F., Williams TR., Rankin EB., Bedogni B., Tachiki L., Spong S., Giaccia AJ., Powell MB.
Metastatic melanoma remains a devastating disease with a 5-year survival rate of less than five percent. Despite recent advances in targeted therapies for melanoma, only a small percentage of melanoma patients experience durable remissions. Therefore, it is critical to identify new therapies for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Here, we define connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) as a therapeutic target for metastatic melanoma. Clinically, CTGF expression correlates with tumor progression and is strongly induced by hypoxia through HIF-1 and HIF-2-dependent mechanisms. Genetic inhibition of CTGF in human melanoma cells is sufficient to significantly reduce orthotopic tumor growth, as well as metastatic tumor growth in the lung of severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. Mechanistically, inhibition of CTGF decreased invasion and migration associated with reduced matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression. Most importantly, the anti-CTGF antibody, FG-3019, had a profound inhibitory effect on the progression of established metastatic melanoma. These results offer the first preclinical validation of anti-CTGF therapy for the treatment of advanced melanoma and underscore the importance of tumor hypoxia in melanoma progression.