Clinical Implications of Basic Research

Heparanase – A Link Between Coagulation, Angiogenesis and Cancer

Yona Nadir and Benjamin Brenner


Heparanase that was cloned from and is abundant in the placenta is implicated in cell invasion, tumor metastasis, and angiogenesis. Recently we have demonstrated that heparanase may also affect the hemostatic system in a non-enzymatic manner. Heparanase was shown to up-regulate tissue factor (TF) expression and interact with tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) on the cell surface, leading to dissociation of TFPI from the cell membrane of endothelial and tumor cells, resulting in increased cell surface coagulation activity. More recently, we have shown that heparanase directly enhances TF activity, resulting in increased factor Xa production and activation of the coagulation system. Data indicate increased levels and possible involvement of heparanase in vascular complications in pregnancy. Taking into account the prometastatic and proangiogenic functions of heparanase, overexpression in human malignancies, and abundance in platelets and placenta, its involvement in the coagulation machinery is an intriguing novel arena for further research.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2012;3(1):e0002