BMP signaling is a therapeutic target in ovarian cancer

Cell Death Discov. 2020 Dec 5;6(1):139. doi: 10.1038/s41420-020-00377-w.


BMP signaling has been found to have tumor-promoting as well as tumor-suppressing effects in different types of tumors. In this study, we investigated the effects of BMP signaling and of BMP inhibitors on ovarian cancer (OC) cells in vitro and in vivo. High expression of BMP receptor 2 (BMPR2) correlated with poor overall survival of OC patients in the TCGA dataset. Both BMP2 and BMPR2 enhanced OC cell proliferation, whereas BMP receptor kinase inhibitors inhibited OC cell growth in cell culture as well as in a mouse model. BMP2 also augmented sphere formation, migration, and invasion of OC cells, and induced EMT. High BMP2 expression was observed after chemotherapy of OC patients in the GSE109934 dataset. In accordance, carboplatin, used for the treatment of OC patients, increased BMP2 secretion from OC cells, and induced EMT partially via activation of BMP signaling. Our data suggest that BMP signaling has tumor-promoting effects in OC, and that BMP inhibitors might be useful therapeutic agents for OC patients. Considering that carboplatin treatment augmented BMP2 secretion, the possibility to use a combination of BMP inhibitors and carboplatin in the treatment of OC patients, would be worth exploring.