Effects of cellular iron deficiency on the formation of vascular endothelial growth factor and angiogenesis. Iron deficiency and angiogenesis

Jonathan Eckard, Jisen Dai, Jing Wu, Jinlong Jian, Qing Yang, Haobin Chen, Max Costa, Krystyna Frenkel, Xi Huang

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37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Young women diagnosed with breast cancer are known to have a higher mortality rate from the disease than older patients. Specific risk factors leading to this poorer outcome have not been identified. In the present study, we hypothesized that iron deficiency, a common ailment in young women, contributes to the poor outcome by promoting the hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) formation. This hypothesis was tested in an in vitro cell culture model system.Results: Human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells were transfected with transferrin receptor-1 (TfR1) shRNA to constitutively impair iron uptake. Cellular iron status was determined by a set of iron proteins and angiogenesis was evaluated by levels of VEGF in cells as well as by a mouse xenograft model. Significant decreases in ferritin with concomitant increases in VEGF were observed in TfR1 knockdown MDA-MB-231 cells when compared to the parental cells. TfR1 shRNA transfectants also evoked a stronger angiogenic response after the cells were injected subcutaneously into nude mice. The molecular mechanism appears that cellular iron deficiency elevates VEGF formation by stabilizing HIF-1α. This mechanism is also true in human breast cancer MCF-7 and liver cancer HepG2 cells.Conclusions: Cellular iron deficiency increased HIF-1α, VEGF, and angiogenesis, suggesting that systemic iron deficiency might play an important part in the tumor angiogenesis and recurrence in this young age group of breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalCancer Cell International
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 19 2010

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