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Protein-bound polysaccharide PSK inhibits tumor invasiveness by down-regulation of TGF-β1 and MMPs


Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) produced by tumor cells play important roles in tumor invasion. PSK, a protein-bound polysaccharide, is widely used in Japan as an immunopotentiating biological response modifier for cancer patients. In this study, we focused on the effects of PSK on invasiveness, TGF-β1 production, and MMPs expression in two human tumor cell lines, pancreatic cancer cell line (NOR-P1) and gastric cancer cell line (MK-1P3). PSK significantly decreased the invasiveness of both cell lines through Matrigel-coated filters but did not affect cell viability, proliferation, or adhesion. Decreased invasion was associated with the inhibition of TGF-β1, MMP-2, and MMP-9 at both mRNA and protein levels as assessed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, gelatin zymography, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Antibody against TGF-β1 neutralized the MMP activities of both cell lines. PSK also suppressed the expression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and uPA receptor but did not change plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) expression. Western blot analysis showed that PSK reduced uPA protein expression but not PAI-1 expression in the both cell lines. These results indicate that PSK suppresses tumor cell invasiveness through down-regulation of several invasion-related factors including TGF-β1, uPA, MMP-2, and MMP-9.

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Zhang, H., Morisaki, T., Matsunaga, H. et al. Protein-bound polysaccharide PSK inhibits tumor invasiveness by down-regulation of TGF-β1 and MMPs. Clin Exp Metastasis 18, 345–351 (2000).

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  • invasiveness
  • matrix metalloproteinases
  • PSK
  • transforming growth factorβ1
  • urokinase plasminogen activator