Endostatin is a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis that is cleaved from the basement membrane protein type XVIII collagen. Expression of endostatin has recently been shown by Western blot analysis of tissue lysates in normal pancreas and pancreas cancer tissue. We show here that the expression pattern of type XVIII collagen/endostatin is shifted from a general basement membrane staining and is mainly located in the vasculature during tumor progression. This shift in type XVIII collagen/endostatin expression pattern coincides with an up-regulation of MMPs involved in endostatin processing in the tumor microenvironment, such as MMP-3, MMP-9 and MMP-13. The circulating levels of endostatin was analyzed in patients with pancreas cancer and compared to that of healthy controls, as well as after surgical treatment or in a group of nonoperable patients after intraperitoneal fluorouracil (5-FU) chemotherapy. The results show that patients with pancreas cancer have increased circulating levels of endostatin and that these levels are normalized after surgery or intraperitoneal chemotherapy. These findings indicate that endostatin could be used as a biomarker for pancreas cancer progression.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.