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Cancer Res. 2010 Nov 1;70(21):8812-21. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0551. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Nuclear receptor COUP-TFII controls pancreatic islet tumor angiogenesis by regulating vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 signaling.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


The significance of angiogenesis in cancer biology and therapy is well established. In this study, we used the prototypical RIP-Tag model of multistage pancreatic islet tumorigenesis to show that the nuclear receptor COUP-TFII is essential to regulate the balance between pro- and anti-angiogenic molecules that influence the angiogenic switch in cancer. Conditional ablation of COUP-TFII in the tumor microenvironment severely compromised neoangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis during pancreatic tumor progression and metastasis. We found that COUP-TFII plays a cell-autonomous role in endothelial cells to control blood vessel sprouting by regulating cell proliferation and migration. Mechanistic investigations revealed that COUP-TFII suppressed vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) signaling by transcriptionally repressing the expression of VEGFR-1, thereby curtailing a central angiogenic driver of vascular growth. Taken together, our results implicate COUP-TFII as a critical factor in tumor angiogenesis through regulation of VEGF/VEGFR-2 signaling, suggesting COUP-TFII as a candidate target for antiangiogenic therapy.

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