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Inhibition of erythropoietin signalling destroys xenografts of ovarian and uterine cancers in nude mice

British Journal of Cancer
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1054/bjoc.2000.1666
  • Regular Article
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


We have recently shown that malignant tumours from the ovary and uterus expressed erythropoietin (Epo) and its receptor (EpoR), and that deprivation of Epo signal in tumour blocks induced death of malignant cells and capillary endothelial cells in vitro (Yasuda et al, submitted). These in vitro results prompted us to examine the effect of Epo-signal withdrawal on tumours in vivo. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated the expression of mRNAs for Epo and EpoR in the transplants of uterine and ovarian tumours in nude mice. Then we injected locally anti-Epo antibody or soluble form of EpoR into the transplants. At 12 h, 1, 7 or 14 days after the injection, all transplants were resected and examined macro- and microscopically. Tumour size was reduced in Epo signal-deprived transplants. Immunohistochemical examinations revealed destruction of Epo-responding malignant and capillary endothelial cells through apoptotic death. The degree of tumour regression correlated well with the dose and frequency of the injections. Control xenografts with saline injection or needle insertion showed well-developed tumour masses. This Epo response pathway will have profound implications for our understanding of the development and progression of malignant tumours and for the use of Epo-signal deprivation as an effective therapy. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign

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