British journal of cancer

VEPH1 expression decreases vascularisation in ovarian cancer xenografts and inhibits VEGFA and IL8 expression through inhibition of AKT activation.

PMID 28301874


VEPH1 is amplified in several cancers including ovarian but its impact on tumour progression is unknown. Previous work has shown that VEPH1 inhibits TGFβ signalling while its Drosophila ortholog increases tissue growth, raising the possibility that VEPH1 could impact tumour growth or progression. A CRISPR approach was used to disrupt VEPH1 expression in ovarian cancer ES-2 cells, while VEPH1-negative SKOV3 cells were stably transfected with VEPH1 cDNA. The impact of altered VEPH1 expression was assessed using in vitro and in vivo assays and mechanistic studies were performed in vitro. VEPH1 expression in SKOV3 cells resulted in a reduced tumour growth rate associated with increased necrotic area, and decreased microvessel density and VEGF-A levels relative to tumours formed by mock-transfected cells. VEPH1 expression also decreased VEGFA and IL8 expression in SKOV3 cells and was associated with decreased activated AKT levels. These effects were not observed in ES-2 cells, which bear a BRAF(V600E) activating mutation that leads to constitutively increased IL8 and VEGFA expression. VEPH1 expression in SKOV3 ovarian cancer cells inhibits AKT activation to decrease VEGFA and IL8 expression, which leads to decreased tumour vascularisation and progression.