Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Cancer Biology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Jonathan M. Kurie, M.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Pierre McCrea, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Ja Seok "Peter" Koo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Faye M. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Yang Xia, M.D., Ph.D.


The extracellular milieu is rich in growth factors that drive tumor progression,but the mechanisms that govern tumor cell sensitivity to those ligands have notbeen fully defined. In this study, we address this question in mice that developmetastatic lung adenocarcinomas through the suppression of the microRNA-200 (miR-200) family. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) enhance tumorgrowth and invasion by secreting VEGF-A that binds to VEGFR1, a processrequired for tumor growth and metastasis in mice and correlated with a poorprognosis in lung adenocarcinoma patients. In this study, we discovered thatmiR-200 blocked CAF-induced tumor cell invasion by directly targetingVEGFR1 in tumor cells. In the context of previous studies, our findings suggestthat the miR-200 family is a point of convergence for diverse biologic processesthat regulate tumor cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis; its target genesixdrive epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (ZEB1 and ZEB2) and promotesensitivity to a potent tumor growth factor emanating from the microenvironment(VEGFR1). Clinical trials should focus not only on the role of VEGFR1 inangiogenesis but also on the expression and activation of VEGFR1 in tumorcells by stromal sources of VEGF-A in the tumor microenvironment as a targetfor metastasis prevention.


Stroma, Lung, miRNA, miR-200, Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts, Tumorigenesis, VEGF-A, VEGFR1