The FGF-2-derived peptide FREG inhibits melanoma growth in vitro and in vivo

Mol Ther. 2011 Feb;19(2):266-73. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.211. Epub 2010 Oct 5.


Previous data report that fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2)-derived peptide FREG potently inhibits FGF-2-dependent angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Here, we show that FREG inhibits up to 70% in vitro growth and invasion/migration of smooth muscle and melanoma cells. Such inhibition is mediated by platelet-derived growth factor-receptor-α (PDGF-Rα); in fact, proliferation and migration were restored upon PDGF-Rα neutralization. Further experiments demonstrated that FREG interacts with PDGF-Rα both in vitro and in vivo and stimulates its phosphorylation. We have previously shown that overexpressing PDGF-Rα strongly inhibits melanoma growth in vivo; we, therefore, hypothesized that PDGF-Rα agonists may represent a novel tool to inhibit melanoma growth in vivo. To support this hypothesis, FREG was inoculated intravenously (i.v.) in a mouse melanoma model and markedly inhibited pulmonary metastases formation. Immunohistochemical analyses showed less proliferation, less angiogenesis, and more apoptosis in metastasized lungs upon FREG treatment, as compared to untreated controls. Finally, in preliminary acute toxicity studies, FREG showed no toxicity signs in healthy animals, and neither microscopic nor macroscopic toxicity at the liver, kidney, and lungs level. Altogether, these data indicate that FREG systemic treatment strongly inhibits melanoma metastases development and indicate for the first time that agonists of PDGF-Rα may control melanoma both in vitro and in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Peptides
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2