Thymidine phosphorylase is angiogenic and promotes tumor growth.
Moghaddam A., Zhang HT., Fan TP., Hu DE., Lees VC., Turley H., Fox SB., Gatter KC., Harris AL., Bicknell R.
Platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor was previously identified as the sole angiogenic activity present in platelets; it is now known to be thymidine phosphorylase (TP). The effect of TP on [methyl-3H]thymidine uptake does not arise from de novo DNA synthesis and the molecule is not a growth factor. Despite this, TP is strongly angiogenic in a rat sponge and freeze-injured skin graft model. Neutralizing antibodies and site-directed mutagenesis confirmed that the enzyme activity of TP is a condition for its angiogenic activity. The level of TP was found to be elevated in human breast tumors compared to normal breast tissue (P < 0.001). Overexpression of TP in MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells had no effect on growth in vitro but markedly enhanced tumor growth in vivo. These data and the correlation of expression in tumors with malignancy identify TP as a target for antitumor strategies.