J Cancer 2020; 11(1):153-167. doi:10.7150/jca.34693 This issue

Research Paper

Distinct Roles of VEGFA and ANGPT2 in Lung Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Shuang Qin1, Ming Yi1, Dechao Jiao2, Anping Li3✉, Kongming Wu1,3✉

1. Department of Oncology, Tongji Hospital of Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430030, China.
2. Department of Interventional Radiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, 450052, China.
3. Department of Medical Oncology, The Affiliated Cancer Hospital of Zhengzhou University & Henan Cancer Hospital, Zhengzhou, 450008, China.

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Citation:
Qin S, Yi M, Jiao D, Li A, Wu K. Distinct Roles of VEGFA and ANGPT2 in Lung Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. J Cancer 2020; 11(1):153-167. doi:10.7150/jca.34693. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p0153.htm

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Abstract

Background: Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) and angiopoietin 2 (ANGPT2) are key mediators in angiogenesis. The expression and clinical significance of VEGFA and ANGPT2 have been investigated in lung cancer, but the results are controversial. The specific roles of VEGFA and ANGPT2 in adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SQC) are still not fully understood. To characterize it, we conducted the current study.

Materials and Methods: The relationships between clinic-pathological characteristics and the protein expressions of VEGFA and ANGPT2 were analyzed on tissue microarrays by immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining. Then public databases were used to evaluate the association of VEGFA and ANGPT2 mRNA expressions with clinic-pathological parameters and prognosis. Cobalt chloride (CoCl2) was adopted to mimic a hypoxic microenvironment and western blot was used to detect the expression of hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), VEGFA and ANGPT2 in lung cancer cell lines.

Results: IHC staining revealed that the expressions of VEGFA and ANGPT2 were enriched in lung cancer tissues compared with normal tissues. Additionally, both VEGFA and ANGPT2 protein levels were significantly associated with the tumor size and lymph node metastasis only in ADC, not SQC. More importantly, increased VEGFA and ANGPT2 protein levels were negatively correlated with overall survival (OS) of ADC individuals. Meta-analyses of 22 gene expression omnibus (GEO) databases of lung cancer implicated that patients with higher VEGFA and ANGPT2 mRNA expressions tended to have advanced stage in ADC rather than SQC. Kaplan-Meier plot analyses further verified that high levels of VEGFA and ANGPT2 mRNA were associated with poor survival only in ADC. Moreover, the combination of VEGFA and ANGPT2 could more precisely predict prognosis in ADC. In hypoxia-mimicking conditions, induced expression of HIF-1α unregulated VEGFA and ANGPT2 proteins abundance.

Conclusion: Our results showed hypoxia upregulated the protein levels of VEGFA and ANGPT2 in lung cancer cell lines, and the roles of VEGFA and ANGPT2 were distinct in ADC and SQC. Combined detections of VEGFA and ANGPT2 may be valuable prognostic biomarkers for ADC and double block of VEGFA and ANGPT2 may improve therapeutic outcome.

Keywords: NSCLC, VEGFA, ANGPT2, prognosis, ADC, SQC