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Could the Protein Leucurogin Hinder the Growth of Melanoma Cells?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Monday, January 21, 2019

According to preclinical research published in Toxicon, the protein leucurogin was found to inhibit tumor growth by more than 40% in human melanoma cells grafted into the skin of mice. Created through recombinant technology, leucurogin, which is cloned from the venom of a white-tailed snake, seems to warrant further study as a potential treatment of melanoma.

Ivan C. Santos, PhD, of the Federal University of São João del-Rei, Brazil, and colleagues assessed the biologic and functional characteristics of leucurogin both in vivo and in vitro. The protein was found to hinder cellular processes that rely on collagen I and to inhibit the adherence of human fibroblasts to collagen, dependent on the dose used.

At 2.5 μM, leucurogin reduced the proliferation of B16F10 Nex-2 melanoma cells by 80%. A dose of 10 μM reduced human fibroblast adhesion to collagen by 40% and its migration by 70%; this dose also prevented the migration (32%) and proliferation (65%) of BLM (human melanoma) cells. In vitro, a treatment of 4.8 μM of leucurogin reduced the formation of vascular structures by endothelial cells by 66%. When injected intraperitoneally into 2-month-old C57/B16 male mice at 5 μg per animal every other day for 15 days, the protein hindered lung metastasis of B16F10 Nex-2 cells by 70% to 75%. To achieve the 40% prevention of tumor growth in human melanoma grafted into the skin of mice, a dose of 7.5 μg/kg of leucurogin was administered every other day for 17 days.

“This work highlights that leucurogin can open a new approach to downstream tumor-cell signaling studies that could also include an intracellular regulation model,” the researchers concluded. “We also encourage the study of leucurogin-integrin interaction to unveil its functional molecular structure.”

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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