High-affinity binding of basic fibroblast growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor-AA to the core protein of the NG2 proteoglycan.
Chondroitin-sulfate proteoglycan 4 (CSPG4) is a transmembrane glycoprotein overexpressed on malignant cells in several cancer types with only limited expression on normal cells. CSPG4 is implicated in several signaling pathways believed to drive cancer progression, particularly proliferation, motility and metastatic spread. Expression may serve as a prognostic marker for survival and risk of relapse in treatment-resistant malignancies including melanoma, triple negative breast cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This tumor-associated overexpression of CSPG4 points towards a highly promising therapeutic target for antibody-guided cancer therapy. Monoclonal αCSPG4 antibodies have been shown to inhibit cancer progression by blocking ligand access to the CSPG4 extracellular binding sites. Moreover, CSPG4-directed antibody conjugates have been shown to be selectively internalized by CSPG4-expressing cancer cells via endocytosis. CSPG4-directed immunotherapy may be approached in several ways, including: (1) antibody-based fusion proteins for the selective delivery of a pro-apoptotic factors such as tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand to agonistic death receptors 4 and 5 on the cell surface; and (2) CSPG4-specific immunotoxins which bind selectively to diseased cells expressing CSPG4, are internalized by them and induce arrest of biosynthesis, closely followed by initiation of apoptotic signaling. Here we review various methods of exploiting tumor-associated CSPG4 expression to improve targeted cancer therapy.