NGR (Asn-Gly-Arg)-targeted delivery of coagulase to tumor vasculature arrests cancer cell growth

Oncogene. 2018 Jul;37(29):3967-3980. doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0213-4. Epub 2018 Apr 17.


Induction of selective thrombosis and infarction in tumor-feeding vessels represents an attractive strategy to combat cancer. Here we took advantage of the unique coagulation properties of staphylocoagulase and genetically engineered it to generate a new fusion protein with novel anti-cancer properties. This novel bi-functional protein consists of truncated coagulase (tCoa) and an NGR (GNGRAHA) motif that recognizes CD13 and αvβ3 integrin receptors, targeting it to tumor endothelial cells. Herein, we report that tCoa coupled by its C-terminus to an NGR sequence retained its normal binding activity with prothrombin and avβ3 integrins, as confirmed in silico and in vitro. Moreover, in vivo biodistribution studies demonstrated selective accumulation of FITC-labeled tCoa-NGR fusion proteins at the site of subcutaneously implanted PC3 tumor xenografts in nude mice. Notably, systemic administration of tCoa-NGR to mice bearing 4T1 mouse mammary xenografts or PC3 human prostate tumors resulted in a significant reduction in tumor growth. These anti-tumor effects were accompanied by massive thrombotic occlusion of small and large tumor vessels, tumor infarction and tumor cell death. From these findings, we propose tCoa-NGR mediated tumor infarction as a novel and promising anti-cancer strategy targeting both CD13 and integrin αvβ3 positive tumor neovasculature.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD13 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Coagulase / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Integrin alphaVbeta3 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / metabolism
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Coagulase
  • Integrin alphaVbeta3
  • NGR peptide
  • Oligopeptides
  • CD13 Antigens