Research Papers:

Vav1 promotes lung cancer growth by instigating tumor-microenvironment cross-talk via growth factor secretion

Shulamit Sebban, Marganit Farago, Shiran Rabinovich, Galit Lazer, Yulia Idelchuck, Lena Ilan, Eli Pikarsky and Shulamit Katzav _

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:9214-9226. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2400

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Shulamit Sebban1,*, Marganit Farago1,*, Shiran Rabinovich1, Galit Lazer1, Yulia Idelchuck1, Lena Ilan1, Eli Pikarsky2 and Shulamit Katzav1

1 Departement of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research, Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada, Hadassah Medical School - Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

2 Department of Immunology & Cancer Research and Department of Pathology, Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada, Hadassah Medical School - Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

* These authors contributed equally to this work


Shulamit Katzav, email:

Keywords: Vav1, CSF1, Lung Cancer, Growth Factors

Received: June 16, 2014 Accepted: August 26, 2014 Published: August 27, 2014


Vav1 is a signal transducer that functions as a scaffold protein and a regulator of cytoskeleton organization in the hematopoietic system, where it is exclusively expressed. Recently, Vav1 was shown to be involved in diverse human cancers, including lung cancer. We demonstrate that lung cancer cells that abnormally express Vav1 secrete growth factors in a Vav1-dependent manner. Transcriptome analysis demonstrated that Vav1 depletion results in a marked reduction in the expression of colony-stimulating-factor-1 (CSF1), a hematopoietic growth factor. The association between Vav1 expression and CSF1 was further supported by signal transduction experiments, supporting involvement of Vav1 in regulating lung cancer secretome. Blocking of ERK phosphorylation, led to a decrease in CSF1 transcription, thus suggesting a role for ERK, a downstream effector of Vav1, in CSF1 expression. CSF1-silenced cells exhibited reduced focus formation, proliferation abilities, and growth in NOD/SCID mice. CSF1-silenced H358 cells resulted in significantly smaller tumors, showing increased fibrosis and a decrease in tumor infiltrating macrophages. Finally, immunohistochemical analysis of primary human lung tumors revealed a positive correlation between Vav1 and CSF1 expression, which was associated with tumor grade. Additional results presented herein suggest a potential cross-talk between cancer cells and the microenvironment controlled by CSF1/Vav1 signaling pathways.

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