Carcinoid tumors are slow growing and highly vascular neuroendocrine neoplasms that are increasing in incidence. Previously, we showed that carcinoid tumors express vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) in the epithelial compartment of carcinoid tumor sections; yet, its role is not completely understood. The purpose of our study was to: (i) assess the expression of VEGFR-2 in the novel human carcinoid cell line BON, (ii) to determine the role of PI3K/Akt signaling on VEGFR-2 expression and (iii) to assess the effect of VEGFR-2 on BON cell invasion, migration and proliferation. We found that, although VEGFR-2 is expressed in BON cells, reduction in VEGFR-2 expression actually enhanced proliferation, invasion, and migration of the BON cell line. Also, expression of VEGFR-2 was inversely related to PI3K signaling. Carcinoid liver metastases in mice demonstrated decreased VEGFR-2 expression. Furthermore, the expression of a truncated, soluble form of VEGFR-2 (sVEGFR-2), a protein demonstrated to inhibit cell growth, was detected in BON cells. The presence of VEGFR-2 in the epithelial component of carcinoid tumors and in the BON cell line suggests an alternate role for VEGFR-2, in addition to its well-defined role in angiogenesis. The expression of sVEGFR-2 may explain the inverse relationship between VEGFR-2 expression and PI3K/Akt signaling and the inhibitory effect VEGFR-2 has on BON cell proliferation, migration and invasion.
- angiogenic factors and receptors
- cell motility and migration
- tumor markers and detection of metastasis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research