Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 13, Issue 3–4, pp 349–364 | Cite as

Prostacyclin and its analogues: antimetastatic effects and mechanisms of action

  • Martin R. Schneider
  • Dean G. Tang
  • Michael Schirner
  • Kenneth V. Honn


More than a decade ago, prostacyclin, a dienoic bicyclic eicosanoid derived from the metabolism of arachidnoic acid, was found to possess potent inhibitory effects on tumor cell metastasis. Thereafter, several laboratories demonstrated the metastasis-suppressive activity of prostacyclin in a wide spectrum of tumor types. Due to the short half-life of prostacyclin, researchers have focused on looking for stable prostacyclin analogues which have extended half lives and increased bioavailabilities. Cicaprost, among other prostacyclin analogues tested, has been demonstrated, like prostacyclin, to effectively inhibit metastasis in several different animal models (i.e., both experimental and spontaneous metastasis models). Prostacyclin as well as cicaprost prevent not only hematogenous, but also lymphatic metastasis. Furthermore, these compounds also inhibit the growth of established micrometastases after removal of the primary tumors. Mechanistic studies revealed that the antimetastatic effects of prostacyclin and its analogues are more related to their interference with tumor cell-host interactions (such as tumor cell induced platelet aggregation, tumor cell adhesion to endothelial cells and subendothelial matrix, tumor cell induced endothelial cell retraction, etc.) than their direct inhibition of the growth of primary tumors. The potent and widespread metastasis-retarding effects of prostacyclin and its stable analogues in animal tumor models warrant their clinical trial in treating human cancer patients and preventing metastasis.

Key words

prostacyclin metastasis cicaprost platelet 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin R. Schneider
    • 1
  • Dean G. Tang
    • 2
  • Michael Schirner
    • 1
  • Kenneth V. Honn
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Research Laboratories of Schering AGBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Departments of Radiation OncologyWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Departments of ChemistryWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  4. 4.Departments of PathologyWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  5. 5.Gershenson Radiation Oncology CenterHarper HospitalDetroitUSA

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