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A group of researchers led by Assistant Professor KUMASAWA Keiichi (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University) discovered that soluble Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) receptor 1 (sFLT1), which had been thought to be involved in developing pregnancy-associated hypertension, had anti-tumor effects on ovarian and colorectal cancers. He confirmed this anti-tumor effect by administering sFLT1 to model mice with ovarian cancer.

Antitumor drugs are currently used for many cancers; however, the discovery and development of new antitumor drugs are still sought after for improving effects of treatment in patients.

The placenta is known to multiply and grow like a tumor throughout gestation. In order to discover new antitumor drugs, Prof. Kumasawa focused his attention on the fact that when sFLT1 was in oversupply in the placenta, the growth of the placenta was inhibited, serving as an anti-tumor drug.

Specifically, in order to confirm the effect of treatment, he examined if the administration of sFLT1 to malignant tumors inhibited cell proliferation or not, analyzing how it affected cells.

As a result, in mice to which sFLT1 was administered, inhibitory effects of tumor cell proliferation in both exogenous and endogenous administrations was confirmed, elucidating the anti-tumor effects of sFLT1.

Due to sFLT1 being produced in the body, it is thought to be easily applied in clinical settings as an antitumor drug. As its effect on lung cancer-derived cells was also confirmed, wide-range applications as an easy-to-use cancer drug are anticipated.


Soluble VEGF receptor 1 (sFLT1) is produced in human body, especially in placenta, and considered to be a key factor of onset of pregnancy induced hypertension. Our group previously reported that overexpression on sFLT1 led to smaller size of placenta. We focused on the rapid growing point in common between placenta and malignant tumors. We treated sFLT1 to cells derived from ovarian or colorectal cancers, and found suppressive effects on tumor growth in a non-apoptotic way. We also confirmed therapeutic effects in sFLT1 treated model mice of ovarian cancer.


Exogenous treatment of sFLT1 led to suppression of growth of tumor in model mice of ovarian cancer.


Endogenous treatment of sFLT1 led to strong suppression of tumor growth in model mice of ovarian cancer.


The graph shows the strong antitumor effect of endogenously treated sFLT1 in model mice of ovarian cancer.

To learn more about this research, please view the full research report entitled "Soluble VEGF receptor 1 (sFLT1) induces non-apoptotic death in ovarian and colorectal cancer cells" at this page of the Scientific Reports website.

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