Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 203–226 | Cite as

Extracellular matrix-resident growth factors and enzymes: possible involvement in tumor metastasis and angiogenesis

  • Israel Vlodavsky
  • Gil Korner
  • Rivka Ishai-Michaeli
  • Pnina Bashkin
  • Rachel Bar-Shavit
  • Zvi Fuks


Neoplastic cells require an appropriate pericellular environment and new formation of stroma and blood vessels in order to constitute a soilid tumor. Tumor progression also involves degradation of various extracellular matrix (ECM) constituents. In this review we have focused on the possible involvement of ECM-resident growth factors and enzymes in neovascularization and cell invasion. We demonstrate that the pluripotent angiogenic factor, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is an ECM component required for supporting cell proliferation and differentiation. Basic FGF has been identified in the subendothelial ECM producedin vitro and in basement membranes of the cornea and blood vesselsin vivo. Despite the ubiquitous presence of bFGF in normal tissues, endothelial cell (EC) proliferation in these tissues is usually very low, suggesting that bFGF is somehow sequestered from its site of action. Our results indicate that bFGF is bound to heparan sulfate (HS) in the ECM and is released in an active form when the ECM-HS is degraded by cellular heparanase. We propose that restriction of bFGF bioavailability by binding to ECM and local regulation of its release, provides a novel mechanism for regulation of capillary blood vessel growth in normal and pathological situations. Heparanase activity correlates with the metastatic potential of various tumor cells and heparanase inhibiting molecules markedly reduce the incidence of lung metastasis in experimental animals. Heparanase may therefore participate in both tumor cell invasion and angiogenesis through degradation of the ECM-HS and mobilization of ECM-resident EC growth factors. The subendothelial ECM contains also tissue type- and urokinase type- plasminogen activators (PA), as well as PA inhibitor which may regulate cell invasion and tissue remodeling. Heparanase and the ECM-resident PA participate synergistically in sequential degradation of HS-proteoglycans in the ECM. These results together with similar observations on the properties of other ECM-immobilized enzymes and growth factors, suggest that the ECM provides a storage depot for biologically active molecules which are thereby stabilized and protected. This may allow a more localized, regulated and persistent mode of action, as compared to the same molecules in a fluid phase.

Key words

angiogenesis metastasis extracellular matrix basic fibroblast growth factor heparanase endothelial cells 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Israel Vlodavsky
    • 1
  • Gil Korner
    • 1
  • Rivka Ishai-Michaeli
    • 1
  • Pnina Bashkin
    • 1
  • Rachel Bar-Shavit
    • 1
  • Zvi Fuks
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of OncologyHadassah-Hebrew University HospitalJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Radiation OncologyMemorial Sloan-kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA

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