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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2005 Nov;131(11):741-50. Epub 2005 Nov 1.

Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) and induction of tumor angiogenesis.

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Department of Hematology/Oncology, University of Leipzig, 04103, Leipzig, Germany.



Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are members of the transforming growth factor-beta family and play an important role in the regulation of embryonic vasculogenesis but their role in postnatal angiogenesis remains to be clarified. In this study we investigated a possible role of BMP-2 in the promotion of tumor angiogenesis.


We studied the effect of BMP-2 on human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMECs) and examined a possible angiogenic activity of BMP-2 with the mouse sponge assay. The effect of BMP-2 overexpression on tumor vascularization was also analyzed in xenografts of human BMP-2 transfected MCF-7 breast cancer cells (MCF-7/BMP2) in mice.


BMP receptor activation selectively induced the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in contrast to the ERK1/2 MAP kinases. In keeping with this finding, BMP-2 had no significant effect on endothelial cell proliferation but promoted HDMEC tube formation in the matrigel assay. The transcription factor inhibitor of differentiation 1 (Id1), which is known to play an important role in neovascularization of tumors, was confirmed as a BMP target in HDMECs. Immunohistochemical analysis of sponge sections revealed that BMP-2 induced vascularization and showed an additive enhancement of angiogenesis with VEGF. In the murine breast cancer xenograft model, human MCF-7 cells with stable overexpression of BMP-2 developed vascularized tumors while empty vector control MCF-7 cells failed to form tumors.


We conclude that activation of the BMP pathway by BMP-2 can promote vascularization and might be involved in tumor angiogenesis possibly by stimulating the Id1 and p38 MAPK pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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