Cyr61/CCN1 overexpression induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition leading to laryngeal tumor invasion and metastasis and poor prognosis.
The complex signaling networks between cancer cells and adjacent endothelial cells make it challenging to unravel how cancer cells send extracellular messages to promote aberrant vascularization or tumor angiogenesis. Here, in vitro and in vivo models show that pancreatic cancer cell generated unique microenvironments can underlie endothelial cell migration and tumor angiogenesis. Mechanistically, we find that pancreatic cancer cell secreted CCN1/Cyr61 matricellular protein rewires the microenvironment to promote endothelial cell migration and tumor angiogenesis. This event can be overcome by Sonic Hedgehog (SHh) antibody treatment. Collectively, these studies identify a novel CCN1 signaling program in pancreatic cancer cells which activates SHh through autocrine-paracrine circuits to promote endothelial cell migration and tumor angiogenesis and suggests that CCN1 signaling of pancreatic cancer cells is vital for the regulation of tumor angiogenesis. Thus CCN1 signaling could be an ideal target for tumor vascular disruption in pancreatic cancer.