Decorin, a naturally occurring protein that circulates in the blood, acts as a potent inhibitor of tumor growth modulating the tumor microenvironment, discovers researchers from Thomas Jefferson University's Kimmel Cancer Center.
The study suggests that it may be possible to harness the power of this naturally occurring anticancer agent as a way to treat cancer, including metastases.
In several different publications it has been described the ability of decorin to affect a number of biological processes including inflammatory responses, wound healing, and angiogenesis.
In this new article, the study's senior investigator, Renato Iozzo, M.D., Ph.D., has labeled decorin a "soluble tumor repressor" - the first to be found that specifically targets new blood vessels, which are pushed to grow by the cancer, and forces the vessel cells to "eat" their internal components.
This reduces their potential to feed the cancer overall causing an inhibition of tumor progression.
The study is published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.