Mitochondrial/cell-surface protein p32/gC1qR as a molecular target in tumor cells and tumor stroma

Cancer Res. 2008 Sep 1;68(17):7210-8. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-6752.


A tumor homing peptide, LyP-1, selectively binds to tumor-associated lymphatic vessels and tumor cells in certain tumors and exhibits an antitumor effect. Here, we show that the protein known as p32 or gC1q receptor is the receptor for LyP-1. Various human tumor cell lines were positive for p32 expression in culture, and the expression was increased in xenograft tumors grown from the positive cell lines. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting analyses with anti-p32 antibodies showed that p32-positive cell lines expressed p32 at the cell surface. These cells bound and internalized LyP-1 peptide in proportion to the cell-surface expression level, which correlated with malignancy rather than total p32 expression in the cells. Like the LyP-1 peptide, p32 antibodies highlighted hypoxic areas in tumors, where they bound to both tumor cells and cells that expressed macrophage/myeloid cell markers and often seemed to be incorporated into the walls of tumor lymphatics. Significant p32 expression was common in human cancers and the p32 levels were often greatly elevated compared with the corresponding normal tissue. These results establish p32, particularly its cell-surface-expressed form, as a new marker of tumor cells and tumor-associated macrophages/myeloid cells in hypoxic/metabolically deprived areas of tumors. Its unique localization in tumors and its relative tumor specificity may make p32 a useful target in tumor diagnosis and therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Separation
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 22 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Complement / metabolism*


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Complement
  • complement 1q receptor
  • PTPN22 protein, human
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 22