Although embryonal proteins have been used as tumor marker, most are not useful for detection of early malignancy. In the present study, we developed mouse monoclonal antibodies against fetal lung of miniature swine, and screened them to find an embryonal protein that is produced at the early stage of malignancy, focusing on lung adenocarcinoma. We found an antibody clone that specifically stained stroma of lung adenocarcinoma. LC-MS/MS identified the protein recognized by this clone as dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase 2 (DDAH2), an enzyme known for antiatherosclerotic activity. DDAH2 was found to be expressed in fibroblasts of stroma of malignancies, with higher expression in minimally invasive adenocarcinoma (MIA) and invasive adenocarcinoma than in adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS). Moreover, tumors with high stromal expression of DDAH2 had a poorer prognosis than those without. In vitro analysis showed that DDAH2 increases expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), inducing proliferation and capillary-like tube formation of vascular endothelial cells. In resected human tissues, eNOS also showed higher expression in invasive adenocarcinoma than in AIS and normal lung, similarly to DDAH2. Our data indicate that expression of DDAH2 is associated with invasiveness of lung adenocarcinoma via tumor angiogenesis. DDAH2 expression might be a prognostic factor in lung adenocarcinoma.
Keywords: Adenocarcinoma; Angiogenesis; DDAH2; Malignant stroma; Prognosis.