Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor

Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), like VEGF, is a potent angiogenic factor. Excessive concentrations of bFGF have been identified in the plasma, urine, and/or tumor tissues of patients with a variety of cancers, including those of the uterus, prostate, kidney, liver, en-dometrium, and stomach. Its presence has also been positively correlated with reduced survival of patients with breast, kidney, and uterine cancer.116,117

Unfortunately, few studies on bFGF inhibition by natural compounds have been conducted. Studies on the polysaccharide PSK reported it may inhibit production of bFGF in rat prostate cancer cells.118,119 One study on curcumin reported that oral administration of about 1.2 grams per day (as scaled to humans) inhibited angio-genesis induced by fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) in the corneas of mice.120 FGF-2 is similar to bFGF. This mouse study, and another, also reported that direct treatment of the cornea with curcumin inhibited angio-genesis induced by FGF-2 or bFGF.121

Given what we already know about the actions of natural compounds, it seems likely that many could be useful in inhibiting bFGF activity indirectly. Conceivably, this could be accomplished in two ways. First, the extracellular matrix (ECM) could be protected from enzymatic degradation. As discussed in the previous chapter, bFGF is safely stored in the ECM until it is released through enzymatic action. Natural compounds that in hibit these enzymes or otherwise stabilize the ECM are discussed in Chapter 9. Second, inhibition of TNF production could help, since TNF can stimulate bFGF production by macrophages and other cells.

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