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We report that hypoxia regulates and influences the level of the angiogenic enzyme platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor (PD-ECGF), also called thymidine phosphorylase, in vitro and in vivo. Levels of PD-ECGF protein increased 6-fold in the breast cancer cell line MDA 231 after 16 h of growth in 0.3% oxygen. A simultaneous increase in enzyme activity was observed. Immunohistochemical staining of MDA 231 tumors grown in nu/nu mice showed increased expression of PD-ECGF in those parts of the tumor that are proximal to the areas of necrosis. In addition, increased and widespread staining for PD-ECGF protein was obtained when the tumor vascular supply was occluded for 2 h by clamping. Lowering the media pH to 6.3-6.7 in vitro also resulted in an increase in PD-ECGF protein levels. This study demonstrates that tumor microenvironmental factors can result in the specific up-regulation of an angiogenic enzyme that can also activate 5-fluorouracil prodrugs and hence is exploitable therapeutically.


Journal article


Cancer Res

Publication Date





570 - 572


Animals, Biomarkers, Tumor, Breast Neoplasms, Cell Hypoxia, Endothelial Growth Factors, Humans, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Lymphokines, Male, Mice, Mice, Nude, Thymidine Phosphorylase, Tumor Cells, Cultured, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors