Neuropilin-2-mediated tumor growth and angiogenesis in pancreatic adenocarcinoma

Nikolaos A. Dallas, Michael J. Gray, Ling Xia, Fan Fan, George Van Buren, Puja Gaur, Shaija Samuel, Sherry J. Lim, Thiruvengadam Arumugam, Vijaya Ramachandran, Huamin Wang, Lee M. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Purpose. Neuropilin-2 (NRP-2) is a coreceptor for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on endothelial cells. NRP-2 is overexpressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells relative to nonmalignant ductal epithelium. This study determined the role of NRP-2 in PDAC cells. Experimental Design. NRP-2 expression was reduced in PDAC cells with stable short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) transfection. Western blotting was done to evaluate signaling intermediates. Migration and invasion studies were carried out in Boyden chambers. Anchorage-independent growth was assessed by soft-agar colony formation. In vivo growth was evaluated using murine subcutaneous and orthotopic xenograft models. Immunohistochemical analysis evaluated in vivo proliferation and angiogenesis. Results. shRNA-NRP-2 decreased NRP-2 levels without affecting neuropilin-1 levels. Akt activation was decreased in clones with reduced NRP-2 (shRNA-NRP-2). shRNA-NRP-2 cells showed decreased migration, invasion, and anchorage-independent growth compared with control cells. In vitro proliferation rates were similar in control- and shRNA-transfected cells. Subcutaneous and orthotopic xenografts from shRNA-transfected cells were significantly smaller than those resulting from control-transfected cells (P < 0.05). Furthermore, shRNA-NRP-2 tumors exhibited less cellular proliferation and decreased microvascular area relative to control tumors (P < 0.05). Constitutive expression of the angiogenic mediator Jagged-1 was reduced in shRNA-NRP-2 cells, whereas vascular endothelial growth factor levels were unchanged. Conclusion. Reduction of NRP-2 expression in PDAC cells decreased survival signaling, migration, invasion, and ability to grow under anchorage-independent conditions. In vivo, reduction of NRP-2 led to decreased growth of xenograft tumors and decreased vascular area, which was associated with decreased Jagged-1 levels. NRP-2 is a potential therapeutic target on PDAC cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8052-8060
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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