EMP2 regulates angiogenesis in endometrial cancer cells through induction of VEGF

Oncogene. 2013 Nov 14;32(46):5369-76. doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.622. Epub 2013 Jan 21.


Understanding tumor-induced angiogenesis is a challenging problem with important consequences for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In this study, we define a novel function for epithelial membrane protein-2 (EMP2) in the control of angiogenesis. EMP2 functions as an oncogene in endometrial cancer, and its expression has been linked to decreased survival. Using endometrial cancer xenografts, modulation of EMP2 expression resulted in profound changes to the tumor microvasculature. Under hypoxic conditions, upregulation of EMP2 promoted vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) expression through a HIF-1α-dependent pathway and resulted in successful capillary-like tube formation. In contrast, reduction of EMP2 correlated with reduced HIF-1α and VEGF expression with the net consequence of poorly vascularized tumors in vivo. We have previously shown that targeting of EMP2 using diabodies in endometrial cancer resulted in a reduction of tumor load, and since then we have constructed a fully human EMP2 IgG1. Treatment of endometrial cancer cells with EMP2-IgG1 reduced tumor load with a significant improvement in survival. These results support the role of EMP2 in the control of the tumor microenvironment and confirm the cytotoxic effects observed by EMP2 treatment in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / biosynthesis*


  • EMP2 protein, human
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A