Bovine lactoferrin and lactoferricin, a peptide derived from bovine lactoferrin, inhibit tumor metastasis in mice

Jpn J Cancer Res. 1997 Feb;88(2):184-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.1997.tb00364.x.


We investigated the effect of a bovine milk protein, lactoferrin (LF-B), and a pepsin-generated peptide of LF-B, lactoferricin (Lfcin-B), on inhibition of tumor metastasis produced by highly metastatic murine tumor cells, B16-BL6 melanoma and L5178Y-ML25 lymphoma cells, using experimental and spontaneous metastasis models in syngeneic mice. The subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of bovine apo-lactoferrin (apo-LF-B, 1 mg/mouse) and Lfcin-B (0.5 mg/mouse) 1 day after tumor inoculation significantly inhibited liver and lung metastasis of L5178Y-ML25 cells. However, human apolactoferrin (apo-LF-H) and bovine holo-lactoferrin (holo-LF-B) at the dose of 1 mg/mouse failed to inhibit tumor metastasis of L5178Y-ML25 cells. Similarly, the s.c. administration of apo-LF-B as well as Lfcin-B, but not apo-LF-H and holo-LF-B, 1 day after tumor inoculation resulted in significant inhibition of lung metastasis of B16-BL6 cells in an experimental metastasis model. Furthermore, in in vivo analysis for tumor-induced angiogenesis, both apo-LF-B and Lfcin-B inhibited the number of tumor-induced blood vessels and suppressed tumor growth on day 8 after tumor inoculation. However, in a long-term analysis of tumor growth for up to 21 days after tumor inoculation, single administration of apo-LF-B significantly suppressed the growth of B16-BL6 cells throughout the examination period, whereas Lfcin-B showed inhibitory activity only during the early period (8 days). In spontaneous metastasis of B16-BL6 melanoma cells, multiple administration of both apo-LF-B and Lfcin-B into tumor-bearing mice significantly inhibited lung metastasis produced by B16-BL6 cells, though only apo-LF-B exhibited an inhibitory effect on tumor growth at the time of primary tumor amputation (on day 21) after tumor inoculation. These results suggest that apo-LF-B and Lfcin-B inhibit tumor metastasis through different mechanisms, and that the inhibitory activity of LF-B on tumor metastasis may be related to iron (Fe3+)-saturation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cattle
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Lactoferrin / chemistry
  • Lactoferrin / pharmacology*
  • Leukemia L5178 / prevention & control*
  • Liver Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Melanoma, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Melanoma, Experimental / secondary
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • lactoferricin B
  • Lactoferrin