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Neoplasia. 2003 Sep-Oct;5(5):445-56.

Inhibition of VEGF-dependent multistage carcinogenesis by soluble EphA receptors.

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Department of Cancer Biology and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


Elevated expression of Eph receptors has long been correlated with the growth of solid tumors. However, the functional role of this family of receptor tyrosine kinases in carcinogenesis and tumor angiogenesis has not been well characterized. Here we report that soluble EphA receptors inhibit tumor angiogenesis and tumor progression in vivo in the RIP-Tag transgenic model of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-dependent multistage pancreatic islet cell carcinoma. Soluble EphA receptors delivered either by a transgene or an osmotic minipump inhibited the formation of angiogenic islet, a premalignant lesion, and reduced tumor volume of solid islet cell carcinoma. EphA2-Fc or EphA3-Fc treatment resulted in decreased tumor volume but increased tumor and endothelial cell apoptosis in vivo. In addition, soluble EphA receptors inhibited VEGF and betaTC tumor cell-conditioned medium-induced endothelial cell migration in vitro and VEGF-induced cornea angiogenesis in vivo. A dominant negative EphA2 mutant inhibited--whereas a gain-of-function EphA2 mutant enhanced--tumor cell-induced endothelial cell migration, suggesting that EphA2 receptor activation is required for tumor cell-endothelial cell interaction. These data provide functional evidence for EphA class receptor regulation of VEGF-dependent tumor angiogenesis, suggesting that the EphA signaling pathway may represent an attractive novel target for antiangiogenic therapy in cancer.

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