Recombinant human erythropoietins (rHuEPOs) are used to treat cancer-related anemia. Recent preclinical studies and clinical trials, however, have raised concerns about the potential tumor-promoting effects of these drugs. Because the clinical significance of erythropoietin receptor (EPOR) signaling in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) also remains controversial, our aim was to study whether EPO treatment modifies tumor growth and if EPOR expression has an impact on the clinical behavior of this malignancy. A total of 43 patients with stage III-IV adenocarcinoma (ADC) and complete clinicopathological data were included. EPOR expression in human ADC samples and cell lines was measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Effects of exogenous rHuEPOα were studied on human lung ADC cell lines in vitro. In vivo growth of human ADC xenografts treated with rHuEPOα with or without chemotherapy was also assessed. In vivo tumor and endothelial cell (EC) proliferation was determined by 5-bromo-2'-deoxy-uridine (BrdU) incorporation and immunofluorescent labeling. Although EPOR mRNA was expressed in all of the three investigated ADC cell lines, rHuEPOα treatment (either alone or in combination with gemcitabine) did not alter ADC cell proliferation in vitro. However, rHuEPOα significantly decreased tumor cell proliferation and growth of human H1975 lung ADC xenografts. At the same time, rHuEPOα treatment of H1975 tumors resulted in accelerated tumor endothelial cell proliferation. Moreover, in patients with advanced stage lung ADC, high intratumoral EPOR mRNA levels were associated with significantly increased overall survival. This study reveals high EPOR level as a potential novel positive prognostic marker in human lung ADC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)