While VEGF-targeted therapies are showing promise, new angiogenesis targets are needed to make additional gains. Here, we show that increased Zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) expression in either tumor cells or in tumor vasculature is predictive of poor clinical outcome. The increase in endothelial EZH2 is a direct result of VEGF stimulation by a paracrine circuit that promotes angiogenesis by methylating and silencing vasohibin1 (VASH1). EZH2 silencing in the tumor-associated endothelial cells inhibited angiogenesis mediated by reactivation of VASH1, and reduced ovarian cancer growth, which is further enhanced in combination with EZH2 silencing in tumor cells. Collectively, these data support the potential for targeting EZH2 as an important therapeutic approach.
In this work, we identify EZH2 as a key regulator of tumor angiogenesis. The increase in endothelial EZH2 is a direct result of VEGF stimulation and indicates the presence of a paracrine circuit that promotes angiogenesis. EZH2 silencing in the tumor-associated endothelial cells using siRNA, packaged in the chitosan delivery system, resulted in significant growth inhibition in an orthotopic ovarian cancer model. EZH2 silencing in tumor endothelial cells resulted in decreased angiogenesis that was mediated by increased levels of the angiogenesis inhibitor, vasohibin1 (VASH1). Combined, these data provide a significant conceptual advance in our understanding of the regulation of angiogenesis in ovarian carcinoma and support the potential for targeting EZH2 as a therapeutic approach.
Keywords: RNA interference, EZH2, chitosan, ovarian carcinoma