Overexpression of pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A in ovarian cancer cells promotes tumor growth in vivo

Henning B. Boldt, Cheryl A. Conover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) is an important regulatory component of the IGF system. Through proteolysis of inhibitory IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs), PAPP-A acts as a positive modulator of local IGF signaling in a variety of biological systems.Arole of IGF in the progression of several common forms of human cancer is now emerging, and therapeutic intervention of IGF receptor signaling is currently being explored. However, little is known about the activities of other components of the IGF system in relation to cancer. We hypothesized that PAPP-A acts to enhance tumor growth in vivo. To test this hypothesis,weoverexpressed wild-type PAPP-A or a mutant PAPP-A with markedly reduced IGFBP protease activity in SKOV3 cells, a human ovarian carcinoma cell line with low tumorigenic potential. In vitro, SKOV3 clones with elevated PAPP-A expression (PAPP-A-1, PAPP-A-28) showed accelerated anchorage-independent growth in soft agar assays compared to clones overexpressing mutant PAPP-A (E483Q-1, E483Q-5) and vector controls. PAPP-A-28, with the highest PAPP-A expression and IGFBP proteolytic activity, also had markedly increased cell invasion through Matrigel. In vivo, we found significantly accelerated tumor growth rates of PAPP-A-overexpressing SKOV3 clones compared with mutant PAPP-A and controls. Investigation of angiogenesis indicated that overexpression of PAPP-A favored development of mature tumor vasculature and that tumor precursors of PAPP-A-28 in particular had a significantly higher degree of vascularization months before obvious tumor development. In conclusion, our data show that PAPP-A proteolytic activity enhances the tumorigenic potential of ovarian cancer cells and establish a novel tumor growth-promoting role of PAPP-A.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1470-1478
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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