Apelin expression in human non-small cell lung cancer: role in angiogenesis and prognosis.
ABSTRACT The recently discovered bioactive peptide, apelin, has been demonstrated to stimulate angiogenesis in various experimental systems. However, its clinical significance and role in tumor vascularization have not yet been investigated in a human malignancy. Therefore, our aim was to study whether apelin expression is associated with angiogenesis and/or tumor growth/behavior in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
A total of 94 patients with stage I-IIIA NSCLC and complete follow-up information were included. Apelin expression in human NSCLC samples and cell lines was measured by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunohistochemistry. Effects of exogenous apelin and apelin transfection were studied on NSCLC cell lines in vitro. In vivo growth of tumors expressing apelin or control vectors were also assessed. Morphometric variables of human and mouse tumor capillaries were determined by anti-CD31 labeling.
Apelin was expressed in all of the six investigated NSCLC cell lines both at the mRNA and protein levels. Although apelin overexpression or apelin treatments did not increase NSCLC cell proliferation in vitro, increasing apelin levels by gene transfer to NSCLC cells significantly stimulated tumor growth and microvessel densities and perimeters in vivo. Apelin mRNA levels were significantly increased in human NSCLC samples compared with normal lung tissue, and high apelin protein levels were associated with elevated microvessel densities and poor overall survival.
This study reveals apelin as a novel angiogenic factor in human NSCLC. Moreover, it also provides the first evidence for a direct association of apelin expression with clinical outcome in a human cancer.
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ABSTRACT: Apelin and its G protein-coupled receptor APJ play important roles in blood pressure regulation, body fluid homeostasis, and possibly the modulation of immune responses. Here, we report that apelin-APJ signaling is essential for embryonic angiogenesis and upregulated during tumor angiogenesis. A detailed expression analysis demonstrates that both paracrine and autocrine mechanisms mark areas of embryonic and tumor angiogenesis. Knockdown studies in Xenopus reveal that apelin-APJ signaling is required for intersomitic vessel angiogenesis. Moreover, ectopic expression of apelin but not vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) is sufficient to trigger premature angiogenesis. In vitro, apelin is non-mitogenic for primary human endothelial cells but promotes chemotaxis. Epistasis studies in Xenopus embryos suggest that apelin-APJ signaling functions downstream of VEGFA. Finally, we show that apelin and APJ expression is highly upregulated in microvascular proliferations of brain tumors such as malignant gliomas. Thus, our results define apelin and APJ as genes of potential diagnostic value and promising targets for the development of a new generation of anti-tumor angiogenic drugs.Developmental Biology 06/2007; 305(2):599-614. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Tumours contain hypoxic regions that select for an aggressive cell phenotype; tumour hypoxia induces metastasis-associated genes. Treatment refractory patients with metastatic cancer show increased numbers of circulating tumour cells (CTCs), which are also associated with disease progression. The aim of this study was to examine the as yet unknown relationship between hypoxia and CTCs. We generated human MDA-MB-231 orthotopic xenografts and, using a new technology, isolated viable human CTCs from murine blood. The CTCs and parental MDA-MB-231 cells were incubated at 21 and 0.2% (hypoxia) oxygen, respectively. Colony formation was assayed and levels of hypoxia- and anoxia-inducible factors were measured. Xenografts generated from CTCs and parental cells were compared. MDA-MB-231 xenografts used to generate CTCs were hypoxic, expressing hypoxia factors: hypoxia-inducible factor1 alpha (HIF1alpha) and glucose transporter protein type 1 (GLUT1), and anoxia-induced factors: activating transcription factor 3 and 4 (ATF3 and ATF4). Parental MDA-MB-231 cells induced ATF3 in hypoxia, whereas CTCs expressed it constitutively. Asparagine synthetase (ASNS) expression was also higher in CTCs. Hypoxia induced ATF4 and the HIF1alpha target gene apelin in CTCs, but not in parental cells. Hypoxia induced lower levels of carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), GLUT1 and BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19-KD protein-interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) proteins in CTCs than in parental cells, supporting an altered hypoxia response. In chronic hypoxia, CTCs demonstrated greater colony formation than parental cells. Xenografts generated from CTCs were larger and heavier, and metastasised faster than MDA-MB-231 xenografts. CTCs show an altered hypoxia response and an enhanced aggressive phenotype in vitro and in vivo.British Journal of Cancer 02/2010; 102(3):561-9. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although cancer cells are not generally controlled by normal regulatory mechanisms, tumor growth is highly dependent on the supply of oxygen, nutrients, and host-derived regulators. It is now established that tumor vasculature is not necessarily derived from endothelial cell sprouting; instead, cancer tissue can acquire its vasculature by co-option of pre-existing vessels, intussusceptive microvascular growth, postnatal vasculogenesis, glomeruloid angiogenesis, or vasculogenic mimicry. The best-known molecular pathway driving tumor vascularization is the hypoxia-adaptation mechanism. However, a broad and diverse spectrum of genetic aberrations is associated with the development of the "angiogenic phenotype." Based on this knowledge, novel forms of antivascular modalities have been developed in the past decade. When applying these targeted therapies, the stage of tumor progression, the type of vascularization of the given cancer tissue, and the molecular machinery behind the vascularization process all need to be considered. A further challenge is finding the most appropriate combinations of antivascular therapies and standard radio- and chemotherapies. This review intends to integrate our recent knowledge in this field into a rational strategy that could be the basis for developing effective clinical modalities using antivascular therapy for cancer.American Journal Of Pathology 02/2007; 170(1):1-15. · 4.52 Impact Factor