Recent analysis of bladder tumors has correlated expression of the neurokine midkine (MK) with poor patient survival. To examine a role for MK and the related pleiotrophin (PTN) in tumorigenesis, they were overexpressed in MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells. Expression had no effect on in vitro growth but conferred a growth advantage in vivo. Enhanced tumor growth correlated with increased vascular density and endothelial proliferation, implicating an angiogenic role for MK and PTN. Angiogenic activity of MK and PTN was confirmed in the rabbit corneal assay. Our data therefore identify two novel targets for antiangiogenic drug development.

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