Tumor cell-derived angiopoietin-like protein 2 establishes a preference for glycolytic metabolism in lung cancer cells

Cancer Sci. 2020 Apr;111(4):1241-1253. doi: 10.1111/cas.14337. Epub 2020 Feb 22.


We previously revealed that tumor cell-derived angiopoietin-like protein 2 (ANGPTL2) accelerates the metastatic capacity of tumors in an autocrine/paracrine manner by activating tumor cell motility and invasiveness and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. However, the effects of ANGPTL2 on cancer cell glycolytic metabolism, which is a hallmark of tumor cells, are unknown. Here we report evidence supporting a role for tumor cell-derived ANGPTL2 in establishing a preference for glycolytic metabolism. We report that a highly metastatic lung cancer cell subline expressing abundant ANGPTL2 showed upregulated expression of the glucose transporter GLUT3 as well as enhanced glycolytic metabolism relative to a less metastatic parental line. Most notably, ANGPTL2 overexpression in the less metastatic line activated glycolytic metabolism by increasing GLUT3 expression. Moreover, ANGPTL2 signaling through integrin α5β1 increased GLUT3 expression by increasing transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling and expression of the downstream transcription factor zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1). Conversely, ANGPTL2 knockdown in the highly metastatic subline decreased TGF-β1, ZEB1, and GLUT3 expression and antagonized glycolytic metabolism. In primary tumor cells from patients with lung cancer, ANGPTL2 expression levels correlated with GLUT3 expression. Overall, this work suggests that tumor cell-derived ANGPTL2 accelerates activities associated with glycolytic metabolism in lung cancer cells by activating TGF-β-ZEB1-GLUT3 signaling.

Keywords: ANGPTL2; GLUT3; ZEB1; cancer metabolism; lung cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Angiopoietin-Like Protein 2
  • Angiopoietin-like Proteins / genetics*
  • Autocrine Communication / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Glucose Transporter Type 3 / genetics*
  • Glycolysis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha5beta1 / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Paracrine Communication / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Zinc Finger E-box-Binding Homeobox 1 / genetics*


  • ANGPTL2 protein, human
  • Angiopoietin-Like Protein 2
  • Angiopoietin-like Proteins
  • Glucose Transporter Type 3
  • Integrin alpha5beta1
  • SLC2A3 protein, human
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • ZEB1 protein, human
  • Zinc Finger E-box-Binding Homeobox 1