Occluding tumor blood supply by delivering the extracellular domain of coagulation-inducing protein tissue factor (truncated tissue factor, tTF) to tumor vasculature has enormous potential to eliminate solid tumors. Yet few of the delivery technologies are moved into clinical practice due to their non-specific tissue biodistribution and rapid clearance by the reticuloendothelial system. Here we introduced a novel tTF delivery method by generating a fusion protein (tTF-pHLIP) consisting of tTF fused with a peptide with a low pH-induced transmembrane structure (pHLIP). This protein targets the acidic tumor vascular endothelium and effectively induces local blood coagulation. tTF-pHLIP, wherein pHLIP is cleverly designed to mimic the natural tissue factor transmembrane domain, triggered thrombogenic activity of the tTF by locating it to the endothelial cell surface, as demonstrated by coagulation assays and confocal microscopy. Systemic administration of tTF-pHLIP into tumor-bearing mice selectively induced thrombotic occlusion of tumor vessels, reducing tumor perfusion and impairing tumor growth without overt side effects. Our work introduces a promising strategy for using tTF as an anti-cancer drug, which has great potential value for clinical applications.
Li, S., Tian, Y., Zhao, Y., Zhang, Y., Su, S., Wang, J., … Nie, G. (2015). pHLIP-mediated targeting of truncated tissue factor to tumor vessels causes vascular occlusion and impairs tumor growth. Oncotarget, 6(27), 23523–23532. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4395