Ovarian cancer angiogenesis, biology and therapy

Lei Xu, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The progressive growth of epithelial ovarian cancer tumor is regulated by proangiogenic molecules and growth factors released by tumor cells and the microenvironment. Previous studies showed that the expression of interleukin-8 (IL-8) directly correlates with the progression of human ovarian carcinomas implanted into the peritoneal cavity of nude mice. We examined the expression level of IL-8 in archival specimens of primary human ovarian carcinoma from patients undergoing curative surgery by in situ mRNA hybridization technique. The expression of IL-8 was significantly higher in patients with stage III disease than in patients with stage I disease. To investigate the role of IL-8 in the progressive growth of ovarian cancer, we isolated high- and low-IL-8 producing clones from parental Hey-A8 human ovarian cancer cells, and compared their proliferative activity and tumorigenicity in nude mice. The effect of exogenous IL-8 and IL-8 neutralizing antibody on ovarian cancer cell proliferation was investigated. Finally, we studied the modulation of IL-8 expression in ovarian cancer cells by sense and antisense IL-8 expression vector transfection and its effect on proliferation and tumorigenicity. We concluded that IL-8 has a direct growth potentiating activity in human ovarian cancer cells. The expression level of IL-8 directly correlates with disease progression of human ovarian cancer, but the mechanism of induction is unknown. Since hypoxia and acidic pH are common features in solid tumors, we determined whether hypoxic and acidic conditions could regulate the expression of IL-8. Culturing the human ovarian cancer cells in hypoxic or acidic medium led to a significant increase in IL-8 mRNA and protein. Hypoxic- and acidosis-mediated transient increase in IL-8 expression involved both transcriptional activation of the IL-8 gene and enhanced stability of the IL-8 mRNA. Furthermore, we showed that IL-8 transcription activation by hypoxia or acidosis required the cooperation of NF-κB and AP-1 binding sites. Finally, we studied novel therapies against human ovarian cancer. First, we determined whether inhibition of the catalytic tyrosine kinase activity of the receptors for vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor (VEGF/VPF) inhibits the formation of malignant ascites and the progressive growth of human ovarian carcinoma cells implanted into the peritoneal cavity of nude mice. Our results suggest that blockade of the VEGF/VPF receptor may be an efficient strategy to inhibit formation of malignant ascites and growth of VEGF/VPF-dependent human ovarian carcinomas. Secondly, we determined whether local sustained production of murine interferon-β could inhibit the growth of human ovarian cancer cells in the peritoneal cavity of nude mice. Our results showed that local production of IFN-β could inhibit the in vivo growth of human ovarian cancer cells by upregulating the expression of the inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in host macrophages.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Oncology

Recommended Citation

Xu, Lei, "Ovarian cancer angiogenesis, biology and therapy" (2000). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9959007.