1. Department of Experimental Oncology 2, National Tumour Institute Aviano, CRO-IRCCS, Via Franco Gallini 2, 33081 AVIANO (PN), Italy;
2. COMT - Centre for Molecular and Translational Oncology;
3. Department of Life Sciences, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 11/A, 43124 PARMA, Italy.
NG2/CSPG4 is an unusual cell-membrane integral proteoglycan widely recognized to be a prognostic factor, a valuable tool for ex vivo and non-invasive molecular diagnostics and, by virtue of its tight association with malignancy, a tantalizing therapeutic target in several tumour types. Although the biology behind its involvement in cancer progression needs to be better understood, implementation of NG2/CSPG4 in the routine clinical practice is attainable and has the potential to contribute to an improved individualized management of cancer patients. In this context, its polymorphic nature seems to be particularly valuable in the effort to standardize informative diagnostic procedures and consolidate forcible immunotherapeutic treatment strategies. We discuss here the underpinnings for this potential and highlight the benefits of taking advantage of the intra-tumour and inter-patient variability in the regulation of NG2/CSPG4 expression. We envision that NG2/CSPG4 may effectively be exploited in therapeutic interventions aimed at averting resistance to target therapy agents and at interfering with secondary lesion formation and/or tumour recurrence.
Keywords: NG2, CSPG4, proteoglycan, cancer