Midkine (MDK) growth factor: a key player in cancer progression and a promising therapeutic target

Panagiota S. Filippou, George Karagiannis, Anastasia Constantinidou

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Abstract

Midkine is a heparin-binding growth factor, originally reported as the product of a retinoic acid-responsive gene during embryogenesis, but currently viewed as a multifaceted factor contributing to both normal tissue homeostasis and disease development. Midkine is abnormally expressed at high levels in various human malignancies and acts as a mediator for the acquisition of critical hallmarks of cancer, including cell growth, survival, metastasis, migration, and angiogenesis. Several studies have investigated the role of midkine as a cancer biomarker for the detection, prognosis, and management of cancer, as well as for monitoring the response to cancer treatment. Moreover, several efforts are also being made to elucidate its underlying mechanisms in therapeutic resistance and immunomodulation within the tumor microenvironment. We hereby summarize the current knowledge on midkine expression and function in cancer development and progression, and highlight its promising potential as a cancer biomarker and as a future therapeutic target in personalized cancer medicine.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOncogene
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2019

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