The Eph receptors are the largest receptors tyrosine kinases (RTKs) family in humans and together with ephrin ligands constitute a complex cellular communication system often dysregulated in many tumors. The role of the Eph-ephrin system in colorectal cancer (CRC) has been investigated and different expression of Eph receptors have been associated with tumor development and progression. In light of this evidence, we investigated if a pharmacological approach aimed at inhibiting Eph/ephrin interaction through small molecules could prevent tumor growth in APCmin/J mice. The 8-week treatment with the Eph-ephrin antagonist UniPR129 significantly reduced the number of adenomas in the ileum and decreased the diameter of adenomas in the same region. Overall our data suggested as UniPR129 could be able to slow down the tumor development in APCmin/J mice. These results further confirm literature data about Eph kinases as a new valuable target in the intestinal cancer and for the first time showed the feasibility of the Eph-ephrin inhibition as a useful pharmacological approach against the intestinal tumorigenesis. In conclusion this work paves the way for further studies with Eph-ephrin inhibitors in order to confirm the Eph antagonism as innovative pharmacological approach with preventive benefit in the intestinal tumor development.
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