Midkine in the pathology of cancer, neural disease, and inflammation

Pathol Int. 2012 Jul;62(7):445-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1827.2012.02815.x. Epub 2012 Mar 27.


Midkine (MK) is a heparin-binding growth factor involved in various cellular processes such as cellular proliferation, survival, and migration. In addition to these typical growth factor activities, MK exhibits several other activities related to fibrinolysis, blood pressure, host defense and other processes. Many cell-surface receptors have been identified to account for the multiple biological activities of MK. The expression of MK is frequently upregulated in many types of human carcinoma. Moreover, blood MK levels are closely correlated with patient outcome. Knockdown and blockade of MK suppress tumorigenesis and tumor development. Thus, MK serves as a tumor marker and a molecular target for cancer therapy. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that MK plays pivotal roles in neural and inflammatory diseases. Understanding of the mechanisms of action of MK is expected to create new therapeutic options for several human diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Gene Silencing
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Midkine
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Nerve Growth Factor / genetics
  • Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cytokines
  • Midkine
  • Nerve Growth Factor