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, 373 (1), 1-11

VEGF/NRP-1axis Promotes Progression of Breast Cancer via Enhancement of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and Activation of NF-κB and β-Catenin

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VEGF/NRP-1axis Promotes Progression of Breast Cancer via Enhancement of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and Activation of NF-κB and β-Catenin

Minna Luo et al. Cancer Lett.

Abstract

Autocrine vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) can regulate the survival and progression of cancers through its various receptors. But the mechanisms and mediators for these functions are largely uncovered, especially in breast cancer. We examined the potential roles and mechanisms of VEGF/neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) axis in regulating the tumorigenesis and metastasis of breast cancer and found the expression of VEGF and NRP-1 correlated with aggressiveness of breast cancer. Knockdown of VEGF or NRP-1 inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion, but enhanced the apoptosis of MDA-MB-231 cells. In contrast, induction of NRP-1 over-expression promoted the proliferation, migration and invasion of MCF-7 cells. VEGF or NRP-1 silencing attenuated the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process and the activation of NF-κBp65, but enhanced GSK-3β expression in MDA-MB-231 cells while NRP-1 over-expression reversed the effects in MCF-7 cells. Treatment with hVEGF165 did not change the inhibition in NRP-1 silencing MDA-MB-231 cells, but enhanced the aggressiveness of NRP-1 over-expressing MCF-7 cells. In addition, VEGF-silencing inhibited the growth and metastasis of implanted MDA-MB-231 tumors in vivo. Our novel data suggest that the positive regulation of the VEGF/NRP-1 axis on the tumorigenesis and metastasis of breast cancer may be associated with enhancing the EMT process and the NF-κB and β-catenin signaling. Hence, the VEGF/NRP-1 axis may be a valuable target for design of therapies for intervention of breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; NRP-1; Tumor progression; VEGF.

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