Apelin inhibition prevents resistance and metastasis associated with anti-angiogenic therapy

Iris Uribesalgo, David Hoffmann, Yin Zhang, Anoop Kavirayani, Jelena Lazovic, Judit Berta, Maria Novatchkova, Tsung Pin Pai, Reiner A. Wimmer, Viktória László, Daniel Schramek, Rezaul Karim, Luigi Tortola, Sumit Deswal, Lisa Haas, Johannes Zuber, Miklós Szűcs, Keiji Kuba, Balazs Dome, Yihai CaoBernhard J. Haubner, Josef M. Penninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Angiogenesis is a hallmark of cancer, promoting growth and metastasis. Anti-angiogenic treatment has limited efficacy due to therapy-induced blood vessel alterations, often followed by local hypoxia, tumor adaptation, progression, and metastasis. It is therefore paramount to overcome therapy-induced resistance. We show that Apelin inhibition potently remodels the tumor microenvironment, reducing angiogenesis, and effectively blunting tumor growth. Functionally, targeting Apelin improves vessel function and reduces polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cell infiltration. Importantly, in mammary and lung cancer, Apelin prevents resistance to anti-angiogenic receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitor therapy, reducing growth and angiogenesis in lung and breast cancer models without increased hypoxia in the tumor microenvironment. Apelin blockage also prevents RTK inhibitor-induced metastases, and high Apelin levels correlate with poor prognosis of anti-angiogenic therapy patients. These data identify a druggable anti-angiogenic drug target that reduces tumor blood vessel densities and normalizes the tumor vasculature to decrease metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9266
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine


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