Overexpression of VEGF 121 in immortalized endothelial cells causes conversion to slowly growing angiosarcoma and high level expression of the VEGF receptors VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 in vivo

Am J Pathol. 2000 Apr;156(4):1469-76. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)65015-8.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF or vascular permeability factor) is an important angiogenic factor that is up-regulated in numerous benign and malignant disorders, including angiosarcoma, hemangiomas, and solid tumors. To determine the functional role of VEGF in the development of endothelial tumors, we expressed primate VEGF 121 in an endothelial cell line, MS1, derived from primary murine cells by immortalization with a temperature-sensitive SV40 large T antigen. This cell line expresses the VEGFR-2 (Flk-1/Kdr) receptor for VEGF. Expression of VEGF 121 led to the development of slowly growing endothelial tumors, which were histologically well-differentiated angiosarcomas. The angiosarcomas generated from MS1 VEGF cells demonstrated up-regulation of the VEGF receptors VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-1 (Flt-1) in vivo compared with benign hemangiomas generated from MS1 cells. Treatment of these cells with the VEGFR-2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor SU 1498 led to decreased expression of ets-1, a transcription factor which has been shown to be stimulated by VEGF. These results suggest that high level expression of VEGF in endothelial cells may result in malignant transformation. This transformation process likely involves both autocrine and paracrine pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Hemangiosarcoma / etiology*
  • Hemangiosarcoma / pathology*
  • Lymphokines / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Primates
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Lymphokines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1