Heldin CH, Lennartsson J, Westermark B
J. Intern. Med. 283 (1) 16-44 [2018-01-00; online 2017-10-17]
Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) isoforms and their receptors have important roles during embryogenesis, particularly in the development of various mesenchymal cell types in different organs. In the adult, PDGF stimulates wound healing and regulates tissue homeostasis. However, overactivity of PDGF signalling is associated with malignancies and other diseases characterized by excessive cell proliferation, such as fibrotic conditions and atherosclerosis. In certain tumours, genetic or epigenetic alterations of the genes for PDGF ligands and receptors drive tumour cell proliferation and survival. Examples include the rare skin tumour dermatofibrosarcoma protuberance, which is driven by autocrine PDGF stimulation due to translocation of a PDGF gene, and certain gastrointestinal stromal tumours and leukaemias, which are driven by constitute activation of PDGF receptors due to point mutations and formation of fusion proteins of the receptors, respectively. Moreover, PDGF stimulates cells in tumour stroma and promotes angiogenesis as well as the development of cancer-associated fibroblasts, both of which promote tumour progression. Inhibitors of PDGF signalling may thus be of clinical usefulness in the treatment of certain tumours.