The influence of gangliosides on tumor growth and frequency of metastastis in vivo as well as on growth and motility of neoplastic cells in vitro was tested utilizing human and rodent cell populations. In mice receiving injections of a ganglioside mixture twice daily the tumor volume, the number of spontaneous metastases per animal, and the number of mice with metastasis was approximately double that of controls. Preincubation of neoplastic cells with the ganglioside mixture doubled the number of metastatic foci in the lungs of mice receiving the cells by i.v. injection. Addition of a ganglioside mixture to the culture medium enhanced motility of neoplastic cells about 3-fold. This finding was similar to that observed for capillary endothelium. The presence of gangliosides in the culture media for a 48-h incubation period about doubled the number of neoplastic cells as compared to controls; the same was observed for capillary endothelium. The data are interpreted to indicate that gangliosides improve growth and mobilization of capillary endothelium and neoplastic cells. Both events may concur in enhancing tumor growth in vivo, the first by improving angiogenesis, the second by direct action on the neoplastic cell population.

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This work was supported by the Associazione Italiana Ricerca sul Cancro and Consiglio Nazionale Ricerche (Italy) P.F. Oncologia, grant 85.02058.44.

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