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    The G protein-coupled protein receptor C-X-C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is an attractive target for cancer diagnosis and treatment, as it is overexpressed in many solid and hematologic cancers. Binding of its ligand, C-X-C chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12), results in receptor internalization and activation of several signal transduction pathways, such as phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B, which are critical in cell proliferation, angiogenesis, development of metastasis, and survival. Also, the CXCR4-CXCL12 axis is involved in the interaction between hematopoietic stem cells (as well as hematologic and solid tumor cells) and their protective microenvironment. This interaction can be disrupted by CXCR4 antagonists. This concept is being used clinically to harvest hematopoietic stem or progenitor cells from bone marrow and to sensitize cancer cells to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and the potential to overcome tumor microenvironment-driven immunosuppression is being explored. This review focuses on new strategies for improvement of cancer treatment by targeting of the CXCR4-CXCL12 interaction. Because of its critical role in cancer, many peptidic and nonpeptidic ligands with different modes of antagonistic activity against the CXCR4-CXCL12 axis have been developed, with some of them reaching clinical trials. Molecular imaging with recently developed radiolabeled CXCR4 ligands could facilitate the selection of patients who might benefit from directed targeted therapy, including CXCR4-directed endoradiotherapy. © 2017 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.


    Annemiek M E Walenkamp, Constantin Lapa, Ken Herrmann, Hans-Jürgen Wester. CXCR4 Ligands: The Next Big Hit? Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine. 2017 Sep;58(Suppl 2):77S-82S

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    PMID: 28864616

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