Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
The role of von Willebrand factor in breast cancer metastasis.....pdf (1.17 MB)
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The role of von Willebrand factor in breast cancer metastasis

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-05, 13:00 authored by Chia Yin Goh, Sean PatmoreSean Patmore, Albert Smolenski, Jane Howard, Shane Evans, Jamie O'SullivanJamie O'Sullivan, Amanda McCann
Breast cancer is the most common female cancer globally, with approximately 12% of patients eventually developing metastatic disease. Critically, limited effective treatment options exist for metastatic breast cancer. Recently, von Willebrand factor (VWF), a haemostatic plasma glycoprotein, has been shown to play an important role in tumour progression and metastasis. In breast cancer, a significant rise in the plasma levels of VWF has been reported in patients with malignant disease compared to benign conditions and healthy controls, with an even greater increase seen in patients with disseminated disease. Direct interactions between VWF, tumour cells, platelets and endothelial cells may promote haematogenous dissemination and thus the formation of metastatic foci. Intriguingly, patients with metastatic disease have unusually large VWF multimers. This observation has been proposed to be a result of a dysfunctional or deficiency of VWF-cleaving protease activity, ADAMTS-13 activity, which may then regulate the platelet-tumour adhesive interactions in the metastatic process. In this review, we provide an overview of VWF in orchestrating the pathological process of breast cancer dissemination, and provide supporting evidence of the role of VWF in mediating metastatic breast cancer.


The Mater Foundation of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH)

UCD Advance PhD Core Scheme



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Goh CY et al. The role of von Willebrand factor in breast cancer metastasis. Transl Oncol. 2021;14(4):101033.

Publication Date

8 February 2021

PubMed ID



  • Irish Centre for Vascular Biology
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences

Research Area

  • Health Professions Education
  • Vascular Biology
  • Cancer
  • Immunity, Infection and Inflammation




  • Published Version (Version of Record)