Local blockage of self-sustainable erythropoietin signaling suppresses tumor progression in non-small cell lung cancer

Lei He, Shouzhen Wu, Qiang Hao, Elhadji M. Dioum, Kuo Zhang, Cun Zhang, Weina Li, Wei Zhang, Yingqi Zhang, Jiming Zhou, Zhijun Pang, Lijuan Zhao, Xiaowen Ma, Meng Li, Qiuyang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Functional significance of co-expressed erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor (EPOR) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had been under debate. In this study, co-overexpression of EPO/EPOR was confirmed to be positively associated with poor survival in NSCLC. The serum EPO in 14 of 35 enrolled NSCLC patients were found elevated significantly and decreased to normal level after tumor resection. With primary tumor cell culture and patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDX) mouse model, the EPO secretion from the tumors of these 14 patients was verified. Then, we proved the patient derived serum EPO was functionally active and had growth promotion effect in EPO/EPOR overexpressed but not in EPO/EPOR under-expressed NSCLC cells. We also illustrated EPO promoted NSCLC cell proliferation through an EPOR/Jak2/Stat5a/cyclinD1 pathway. In xenograft mouse model, we proved local application of EPO neutralizing antibody and short hairpin RNA (shRNA) against EPOR effectively inhibited the growth of EPO/EPOR overexpressed NSCLC cells and prolonged survivals of the mice. Finally, EPO/EPOR/ Jak2/Stat5a/cyclinD1 signaling was found to be a mediator of hypoxia induced growth in EPO/EPOR overexpressed NSCLC. Our results illustrated a subgroup of NSCLC adapt to hypoxia through self-sustainable EPO/EPOR signaling and suggest local blockage of EPO/EPOR as potential therapeutic method in this distinct NSCLC population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82352-82365
Number of pages14
Issue number47
StatePublished - 2017


  • Cell cycle
  • Hypoxia
  • Proliferation
  • Serum EPO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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