VEGF is a central regulator of angiogenesis, and cancer is dependent upon this process since tumors cannot grow past a microscope size without the generation of new blood vessels to provide a sufficient nutrient supply. The VEGF system is thus an attractive therapeutic target for disease such as breast and uterine cancer, which require angiogenesis for growth and metastasis. Little is known about the regulation of VEGF expression in hormone related cancers such as those of the mammary gland and endometrium, and it is unclear how one might prevent VEGF expression or actions in these diseases. We have been involved in studying the hormonal regulation of VEGF expression in these tissues, and recently made the novel discovery that progesterone regulates expression of this key angiogenic factor in some human breast cancer cells, specifically in the well characterized T47-D cell line.
The aim of this proposal is to determine the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of VEGF by progesterone in human breast cancer cells, in normal rodent mammary cells in vivo, in several in vivo mammary tumor models and in human xenografts grown in nude mice. The hypothesis we will test is that progestins (P) regulate transcription of VEGF directly via classical progesterone (PR) mediated signaling pathways. To test this hypothesis we propose 4 specific aims: (1) To determine the mechanism by which progestins regulate expression of VEGF in human breast cancer cells, (2) To determine which form(s) of the PR regulates VEGF expression, the receptor domains necessary for regulation, and the regulatory elements in the VEGF gene that mediate PR induction, (3) To define VEGF regulation by progestins and anti- progestins in vivo in the normal rodent mammary gland, in rodent mammary tumor models and in human tumor xenografts grown in nude mice and (4) to determine if PO induced VEGF in breast cancer cells participates in the process of angiogenesis and tumor growth. Elucidating the mechanisms that control VEGF production in normal and neoplastic mammary cells is essential to understand the regulation of angiogenesis in breast cancer and to design new therapeutic approaches to this disease that modulate VEGF-induced angiogenesis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Reproductive Endocrinology Study Section (REN)
Program Officer
Sathyamoorthy, Neeraja
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Missouri-Columbia
Organized Research Units
United States
Zip Code
Liang, Yayun; Besch-Williford, Cynthia; Benakanakere, Indira et al. (2011) Targeting mutant p53 protein and the tumor vasculature: an effective combination therapy for advanced breast tumors. Breast Cancer Res Treat 125:407-20
Liang, Yayun; Benakanakere, Indira; Besch-Williford, Cynthia et al. (2010) Synthetic progestins induce growth and metastasis of BT-474 human breast cancer xenografts in nude mice. Menopause 17:1040-7
Carroll, Candace E; Benakanakere, Indira; Besch-Williford, Cynthia et al. (2010) Curcumin delays development of medroxyprogesterone acetate-accelerated 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced mammary tumors. Menopause 17:178-84
Benakanakere, Indira; Besch-Williford, Cynthia; Carroll, Candace E et al. (2010) Synthetic progestins differentially promote or prevent 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced mammary tumors in sprague-dawley rats. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 3:1157-67
Liang, Yayun; Besch-Williford, Cynthia; Hyder, Salman M (2009) PRIMA-1 inhibits growth of breast cancer cells by re-activating mutant p53 protein. Int J Oncol 35:1015-23
Hyder, Salman M; Liang, Yayun; Wu, Jianbo et al. (2009) Regulation of thrombospondin-1 by natural and synthetic progestins in human breast cancer cells. Endocr Relat Cancer 16:809-17
Benakanakere, Indira; Besch-Williford, Cynthia; Ellersieck, Mark R et al. (2009) Regression of progestin-accelerated 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced mammary tumors in Sprague-Dawley rats by p53 reactivation and induction of massive apoptosis: a pilot study. Endocr Relat Cancer 16:85-98
Hyder, Salman M; Liang, Yayun; Wu, Jianbo (2009) Estrogen regulation of thrombospondin-1 in human breast cancer cells. Int J Cancer 125:1045-53
Liang, Yayun; Besch-Williford, Cynthia; Benakanakere, Indira et al. (2007) Re-activation of the p53 pathway inhibits in vivo and in vitro growth of hormone-dependent human breast cancer cells. Int J Oncol 31:777-84
Hyder, S M (2006) Sex-steroid regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor in breast cancer. Endocr Relat Cancer 13:667-87

Showing the most recent 10 out of 20 publications