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TGF-beta modulates ovarian cancer invasion by upregulating CAF-derived versican in the tumor microenvironment


TGF-beta has limited effects on ovarian cancer cells, but its contributions to ovarian tumor growth might be mediated through elements of the tumor microenvironment. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that TGF modulates ovarian cancer progression by modulating the contribution of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) that are present in the microenvironment. Transcriptome profiling of microdissected stromal and epithelial components of high-grade serous ovarian tumors and TGF-beta-treated normal ovarian fibroblasts identified versican (VCAN) as a key upregulated target gene in CAFs. Functional evaluations in coculture experiments showed that TGF-beta enhanced the aggressiveness of ovarian cancer cells by upregulating VCAN in CAFs. VCAN expression was regulated in CAFs through TGF-beta receptor type II and SMAD signaling. Upregulated VCAN promoted the motility and invasion of ovarian cancer cells by activating the NF-kappaB signaling pathway and by upregulating expression of CD44, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and the hyaluronan-mediated motility receptor. Our work identified a TGF-beta-inducible gene signature specific to CAFs in advanced high-grade serous ovarian tumors, and showed how TGF-beta stimulates ovarian cancer cell motility and invasion by upregulating the CAF-specific gene VCAN. These findings suggest insights to develop or refine strategies for TGF-beta-targeted therapy of ovarian cancer.

Type Journal
ISBN 1538-7445 (Electronic) 0008-5472 (Linking)
Authors Yeung, T. L.; Leung, C. S.; Wong, K. K.; Samimi, G.; Thompson, M. S.; Liu, J.; Zaid, T. M.; Ghosh, S.; Birrer, M. J.; Mok, S. C.;
Published Date 2013-09-01
Published Volume 73
Published Issue 16
Published Pages 5016-28
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version