TWEAK promotes ovarian cancer cell metastasis via NF-kappaB pathway activation and VEGF expression

Cancer Lett. 2009 Oct 8;283(2):159-67. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2009.03.036. Epub 2009 Apr 23.


The poor prognosis of human ovarian cancer is partly due to its metastasis and recurrence. It has been demonstrated that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK)-fibroblast growth factor inducible-14 (Fn14) signaling system may be a potential regulator of human tumorigenesis. The objective of this study was to understand the effect of TWEAK on ovarian cancer metastasis. We recently showed that activation of Fn14 signaling by TWEAK promoted cell migration and invasion in human HO-8910PM cells. Treating HO-8910PM cells with TWEAK resulted in the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) and subsequently the translocation of NF-kappaB from cytoplasm to nucleus. In addition, TWEAK promoted vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein expression, and this effect was dependent upon NF-kappaB transcriptional activity. Blocking the NF-kappaB pathway with PDTC suppressed TWEAK-induced up-regulation of VEGF protein expression and cell metastasis. Our results suggest that TWEAK-Fn14 functions, in part, through the NF-kappaB signaling pathway to up-regulate VEGF expression to foster ovarian cancer cell metastasis. Targeted therapy against TWEAK-Fn14 signaling system as an adjuvant to surgery may improve clinical management of invasive ovarian cancer cells and advance the outcome of this devastating cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cytokine TWEAK
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factors / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / biosynthesis*


  • Cytokine TWEAK
  • NF-kappa B
  • TNFSF12 protein, human
  • Tumor Necrosis Factors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A