Human cancer and platelet interaction, a potential therapeutic target

Shike Wang, Zhenyu Li, Ren Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Cancer patients experience a four-fold increase in thrombosis risk, indicating that cancer development and progression are associated with platelet activation. Xenograft experiments and transgenic mouse models further demonstrate that platelet activation and platelet-cancer cell interaction are crucial for cancer metastasis. Direct or indirect interaction of platelets induces cancer cell plasticity and enhances survival and extravasation of circulating cancer cells during dissemination. In vivo and in vitro experiments also demonstrate that cancer cells induce platelet aggregation, suggesting that platelet-cancer interaction is bidirectional. Therefore, understanding how platelets crosstalk with cancer cells may identify potential strategies to inhibit cancer metastasis and to reduce cancer-related thrombosis. Here, we discuss the potential function of platelets in regulating cancer progression and summarize the factors and signaling pathways that mediate the cancer cell-platelet interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1246
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 20 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Biomarker
  • Cancer metastasis
  • Cancer therapy
  • Platelet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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