Gene Summary

Gene:EPHA1; EPH receptor A1
Aliases: EPH, EPHT, EPHT1
Summary:This gene belongs to the ephrin receptor subfamily of the protein-tyrosine kinase family. EPH and EPH-related receptors have been implicated in mediating developmental events, particularly in the nervous system. Receptors in the EPH subfamily typically have a single kinase domain and an extracellular region containing a Cys-rich domain and 2 fibronectin type III repeats. The ephrin receptors are divided into 2 groups based on the similarity of their extracellular domain sequences and their affinities for binding ephrin-A and ephrin-B ligands. This gene is expressed in some human cancer cell lines and has been implicated in carcinogenesis. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ephrin type-A receptor 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: EPHA1 (cancer-related)

Chen X, Lu B, Ma Q, et al.
EphA3 inhibits migration and invasion of esophageal cancer cells by activating the mesenchymal‑epithelial transition process.
Int J Oncol. 2019; 54(2):722-732 [PubMed] Related Publications
Eph receptor tyrosine kinases are critical for cell‑cell communication during normal and oncogenic development. Eph receptor A3 (EphA3) expression is associated with tumor promotion in certain types of cancer; however, it acts as a tumor suppressor in others. The expression levels of EphA3 and its effects on tumor progression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cell lines were determined using reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis and a Transwell invasion assay. The present study demonstrated that EphA3 expression was decreased in ESCC tissues and cell lines. Treatment with the DNA methylation inhibitor 5‑aza‑2'‑deoxycytidine increased the mRNA expression levels of EphA3 in the ESCC cell lines KYSE510 and KYSE30. In addition, overexpression of EphA3 in KYSE450 and KYSE510 cells inhibited cell migration and invasion. EphA3 overexpression also decreased RhoA GTPase. Furthermore, EphA3 overexpression induced mesenchymal‑epithelial transition, as demonstrated by epithelial‑like morphological alterations, increased expression of epithelial proteins (E‑cadherin and the tight junction protein 1 zonula occludens‑1) and decreased expression of mesenchymal proteins (Vimentin, N‑cadherin and Snail). Conversely, silencing EphA3 in KYSE410 cells triggered epithelial‑mesenchymal transition, and promoted cell migration and invasion. These results suggested that EphA3 may serve a tumor‑suppressor role in ESCC.

Zhao K, He J, Wang YF, et al.
EZH2-mediated epigenetic suppression of EphB3 inhibits gastric cancer proliferation and metastasis by affecting E-cadherin and vimentin expression.
Gene. 2019; 686:118-124 [PubMed] Related Publications
EphB3 is a member of the EPH family of receptors and has been found to play a role in the carcinogenesis of some human cancers. However, its expression and clinical significance in gastric cancer (GC) have not been well documented. In the present study, we detected the expression of EphB3 in GC and adjacent noncancerous tissues and explored its relationships with the clinicopathological features and prognosis of GC patients. It was found that EphB3 silenced GC cells epigenetically by direct transcriptional repression of GC cells via polycomb group protein EZH2 mediation. EphB3 was downregulated in GC cells and tissues, and EphB3 depletion promoted GC cell growth and invasion, while ectopic overexpression of EphB3 produced a significant anti-tumor effect. EphB3 was found to be involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition by regulating E-cadherin and vimentin expression. In addition, patients with reduced EphB3 expression had shorter disease-free survival (DFS), indicating that EphB3 may prove to be a biomarker for prognosis of GC. These results demonstrated that EphB3 functioned as a tumor-suppressor and prognostic biomarker in GC.

Lv XY, Wang J, Huang F, et al.
EphA3 contributes to tumor growth and angiogenesis in human gastric cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2018; 40(4):2408-2416 [PubMed] Related Publications
Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ephrin ligands, mediate an important cell communication system both in normal and oncogenic development, and play central roles in a series of processes including angiogenesis, stem cell maintenance and cancer metastasis. Eph receptor A3 (EphA3), commonly overexpressed in a broad range of cancers, including gastric cancer (GC), is related to tumor progression. Our previous study revealed that EphA3 may play important roles in tumorigenesis and angiogenesis in GC. However, its exact role and the mechanisms underlying its function in GC remain unclear. In the present study, lentivirus‑mediated RNA interference was employed to knock down the expression of EphA3 in GC HGC‑27 cells. Functional analyses indicated that depletion of EphA3 expression inhibited the cell growth and tumorigenicity of HGC‑27 cells in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, knockdown of the expression of EphA3 in HGC‑27 cells inhibited tube formation and migration of HUVEC endothelial cells. Tumor angiogenesis in vivo was also inhibited upon EphA3 knockdown in HGC‑27 cells, with reduced microvessel density (MVD) in xenograft models. We further revealed that EphA3 depletion inhibited tumor angiogenesis and migration through the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3/vascular endothelial growth factor (STAT3/VEGF) signaling pathway. These results indicated that EphA3 may be an effective prognostic indicator and a potential target for GC therapy.

Iwasaki K, Ninomiya R, Shin T, et al.
Chronic hypoxia-induced slug promotes invasive behavior of prostate cancer cells by activating expression of ephrin-B1.
Cancer Sci. 2018; 109(10):3159-3170 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Advanced solid tumors are exposed to hypoxic conditions over longer periods of time as they grow. Tumor hypoxia is a major factor that induces malignant progression, but most previous studies on tumor hypoxia were performed under short-term hypoxia for up to 72 hours and few studies have focused on tumor response to chronic hypoxic conditions. Here we show a molecular mechanism by which chronic hypoxia promotes invasive behavior in prostate cancer cells. We found that an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-driving transcription factor, slug, is specifically upregulated under chronic hypoxia and promotes tumor cell migration and invasion. Unexpectedly, processes associated with EMT, such as loss of E-cadherin, are not observed under chronic hypoxia. Instead, expression of ephrin-B1, a ligand of Eph-related receptor tyrosine kinases, is markedly induced by slug through E-box motifs and promotes cell migration and invasion. Furthermore, slug and ephrin-B1 are highly coexpressed in chronic hypoxic cells of human prostate adenocarcinoma tissues after androgen deprivation, which is known to cause tumor hypoxia. Taken together, these results indicate that chronic hypoxia-induced slug promotes invasive behavior of prostate cancer cells by activating the expression of ephrin-B1. In addition, ephrin-B1 may be a novel therapeutic target in combination with androgen deprivation therapy for aggressive prostate cancer.

Inokuchi M, Nakagawa M, Baogok N, et al.
Prognostic Significance of High EphA1-4 Expression Levels in Locally Advanced Gastric Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2018; 38(3):1685-1693 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma receptor A (EphA) is associated with angiogenesis and invasive tumor progression. In this study, we evaluated the EphA1-4 expression levels in advanced gastric cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Tumor tissues obtained from 114 patients with advanced gastric adenocarcinoma who underwent gastrectomy were analyzed. In addition, the impact of EPHA 1-4 mRNA expression on survival was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier plotter database on the website.
RESULTS: High EphA 1, 2, and 4 expression levels were significantly related to recurrence (p<0.01, p=0.04, and p<0.01). Both high EphA 1 and 4 expression levels were independent predictors of relapse-free interval (hazard ratio [HR]=2.0, p=0.03; HR=2.4, p=0.03) and disease-specific survival (HR=2.0, 95% p=0.03; HR=2.5, p=0.02) on multivariate analysis. In the Kaplan-Meier plotter database, high EPHA2 mRNA expression was significantly associated with poor survival in patients with gastric cancer (p=0.0098), and high expression levels of EPHA1 and 4 tended to be associated with poor survival (p=0.050, p=0.052).
CONCLUSION: EphA 1, 2, and 4 may play key roles in recurrence and survival in patients with advanced gastric cancer.

Jin Y, Zou Y, Wan L, et al.
Decreased Eph receptor‑A1 expression is related to grade in ovarian serous carcinoma.
Mol Med Rep. 2018; 17(4):5409-5415 [PubMed] Related Publications
Eph receptor‑A1 (EphA1) was the first member of the erythropoietin producing hepatocellular carcinoma (Eph) family of receptor tyrosine kinases. Although the roles of EphA1 in the tumorigenesis of various human cancers have been investigated, few studies have focused on ovarian carcinoma. The present study aimed to explore the profile of EphA1 expression in ovarian carcinomas, to analyzed the association between EphA1 expression and clinicopathologic parameters, and to investigate the roles of overexpressed EphA1 in ovarian cancer cells. EphA1 protein was detected in ovarian cancer cell lines and in a set of formalin‑fixed tissues, including normal fallopian tube, ovarian benign serous cystadenoma, borderline serous tumors and serous carcinoma. Ovarian cancer cell lines HO8910 and A2780 were transiently transfected with EphA1‑pCMV6‑GFP plasmid, and the proliferation and apoptosis of cells were measured. The association between EphA1 expression and clinicopathological parameters was statistically analyzed. EphA1 expression was negative in HO8910 and weakly positive in A2780 cells. The proliferation rate was significantly reduced in ovarian cancer cells after transfection with EphA1 plasmid compared with cells transfected with mock plasmid or untreated cells, but no obvious alteration in apoptosis was detected among these groups. EphA1 expression was positively detected in all normal fallopian tubes (10/10, 100%) and ovarian benign serous cystadenomas (12/12, 100%) as well as in some borderline serous tumors (9/15, 60%) and ovarian serous carcinomas (33/76, 43.42%). EphA1 expression was associated with grade of ovarian serous carcinomas, with loss of EphA1 more often observed in high‑grade tumors (P=0.016) and high Ki67 index tumors (P=0.007). These data suggest that EphA1 might be a useful marker for distinguishing low grade from high‑grade ovarian serous carcinoma.

Salgia R, Kulkarni P, Gill PS
EphB4: A promising target for upper aerodigestive malignancies.
Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2018; 1869(2):128-137 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma (Eph) receptors are the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) that include two major subclasses, EphA and EphB. They form an important cell communication system with critical and diverse roles in a variety of biological processes during embryonic development. However, dysregulation of the Eph/ephrin interactions is implicated in cancer contributing to tumour growth, metastasis, and angiogenesis. Here, we focus on EphB4 and review recent developments in elucidating its role in upper aerodigestive malignancies to include lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and mesothelioma. In particular, we summarize information regarding EphB4 structure/function and role in disease pathobiology. We also review the data supporting EphB4 as a potential pharmacological and immunotherapy target and finally, progress in the development of new therapeutic strategies including small molecule inhibitors of its activity is discussed. The emerging picture suggests that EphB4 is a valuable and attractive therapeutic target for upper aerodigestive malignancies.

Grant RC, Denroche RE, Borgida A, et al.
Exome-Wide Association Study of Pancreatic Cancer Risk.
Gastroenterology. 2018; 154(3):719-722.e3 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We conducted a case-control exome-wide association study to discover germline variants in coding regions that affect risk for pancreatic cancer, combining data from 5 studies. We analyzed exome and genome sequencing data from 437 patients with pancreatic cancer (cases) and 1922 individuals not known to have cancer (controls). In the primary analysis, BRCA2 had the strongest enrichment for rare inactivating variants (17/437 cases vs 3/1922 controls) (P = 3.27x10

Chen J, Li L, Yang Z, et al.
Androgen-deprivation therapy with enzalutamide enhances prostate cancer metastasis via decreasing the EPHB6 suppressor expression.
Cancer Lett. 2017; 408:155-163 [PubMed] Related Publications
Early studies suggested that using ADT with the recently developed anti-androgen Enzalutamide (Enz, also named as MDV3100 could extent castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients' survival an extra 4.8 months. Yet the therapy in most patients might eventually fail due to development of Enz-resistance. Here we found Enz might also increase some unwanted side-effects via increasing the CRPC cell invasion that might involve altering the Enz-mediated androgen receptor (AR)/EPHB6 suppressor/JNK signaling. Results from multiple clinical surveys also indicated that EPHP6 might function as a suppressor of PCa metastasis. Mechanism dissection revealed that Enz-mediated AR might function via binding to the androgen-response-element (ARE) on the EPHB6 promoter to decrease EPHB6 suppressor expression, which might then activate the phosphorylation of JNK signals to increase the CRPC cell invasion. Targeting this newly identified AR/EPHB6/JNK signaling with JNK inhibitor (SP600125) may then block/reverse the Enz-increased CRPC cell invasion. Collectively, our results suggest that Enz may increase CRPC cell invasion via altering the AR/EPHB6/JNK/MMP9 signaling and targeting this newly identified signaling may help us to increase the Enz efficacy to better suppress the CRPC at the later metastatic stage.

Charmsaz S, Scott AM, Boyd AW
Targeted therapies in hematological malignancies using therapeutic monoclonal antibodies against Eph family receptors.
Exp Hematol. 2017; 54:31-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
The use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and molecules derived from them has achieved considerable attention and success in recent years, establishing this mode of therapy as an important therapeutic strategy in many cancers, in particular hematological tumors. mAbs recognize cell surface antigens expressed on target cells and mediate their function through various mechanisms such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, complement-dependent cytotoxicity, or immune system modulation. The efficacy of mAb therapy can be improved when they are conjugated to a highly potent payloads, including cytotoxic drugs and radiolabeled isotopes. The Eph family of proteins has received considerable attention in recent years as therapeutic targets for treatment of both solid and hematological cancers. High expression of Eph receptors on cancer cells compared with low expression levels in normal adult tissues makes them an attractive candidate for cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we detail the modes of action of antibody-based therapies with a focus on the Eph family of proteins as potential targets for therapy in hematological malignancies.

Cui Y, Wu BO, Flamini V, et al.
Knockdown of
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(8):4415-4424 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Overexpression of erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular A1 (EPHA1), a member of the EPH super family, is frequently observed in various cancer types. The dysregulated interaction of EPHA1 with its ligand Ephrin A1 has been linked to the progression of ovarian cancer (OC). However, the contribution of EPHA1 in the regulation of the aggressive properties of OC cells remains unknown.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study we investigated the differential expression of EPHA1 in human OC cells. The EPHA1 gene was knocked-down using the CRISPR/Cas9 technique to evaluate its effect on the progressive properties of OC cells.
RESULTS: After EPHA1 was knocked-down using a CRISPR/CAS9 genomic editing system in OC cells (SKOV3 and COV504), we observed cell-cycle arrest at the G
CONCLUSION: EPHA1 may promote the aggression of some OC cells and, thus, be considered a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of malignant OC.

Cuyàs E, Queralt B, Martin-Castillo B, et al.
EphA2 receptor activation with ephrin-A1 ligand restores cetuximab efficacy in NRAS-mutant colorectal cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2017; 38(1):263-270 [PubMed] Related Publications
Patients with wild-type KRAS metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) that harbors NRAS activating mutations do not benefit from anti-EGFR therapies. Very little is known about oncogenic NRAS signaling driving mCRC unresponsiveness to the EGFR-directed antibody cetuximab. Using a system of paired NRAS-mutant and wild-type isogenic mCRC cell lines to explore signaling pathways engaged by the common oncogenic NRAS Q61K variant upon challenge with cetuximab, we uncovered an unexpected mechanism of resistance to cetuximab involving dysregulation of the ephrin-A1/EphA2 signaling axis. Parental NRAS+/+ cells, but not NRASQ61K/+ cells, activated the ephrin receptor ephA1 in response to cetuximab treatment. Moreover, whereas cetuximab treatment significantly downregulated EPHA2 gene expression in NRAS+/+ cells, EPHA2 expression in NRASQ61K/+ cells was refractory to cetuximab. Remarkably, pharmacologically mimicked ephrin-A1 engagement to ephA2 converted NRAS-mutant into RAS wild-type mCRC cells in terms of cetuximab efficacy. Accordingly, activation of the ephA2 receptor by bioactive recombinant human ephrin-A1/Fc-fusion protein suppressed the cetuximab-unresponsive hyperactivation of MAPK and AKT and fully restored cetuximab activity in NRAS-mutant colorectal cells. Collectively, these findings reveal that the clinical benefit of cetuximab in mCRC might necessarily involve the suppression of the ligandless oncogenic signaling of the ephA2 receptor. Hence, ligand-dependent tumor suppressor signaling using therapeutic ephA2 agonists might offer new therapeutic opportunities to clinically widen the use of cetuximab in NRAS-mutated and/or ephA2-dependent mCRC tumors.

Nagaraja S, Vitanza NA, Woo PJ, et al.
Transcriptional Dependencies in Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.
Cancer Cell. 2017; 31(5):635-652.e6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a fatal pediatric cancer with limited therapeutic options. The majority of cases of DIPG exhibit a mutation in histone-3 (H3K27M) that results in oncogenic transcriptional aberrancies. We show here that DIPG is vulnerable to transcriptional disruption using bromodomain inhibition or CDK7 blockade. Targeting oncogenic transcription through either of these methods synergizes with HDAC inhibition, and DIPG cells resistant to HDAC inhibitor therapy retain sensitivity to CDK7 blockade. Identification of super-enhancers in DIPG provides insights toward the cell of origin, highlighting oligodendroglial lineage genes, and reveals unexpected mechanisms mediating tumor viability and invasion, including potassium channel function and EPH receptor signaling. The findings presented demonstrate transcriptional vulnerabilities and elucidate previously unknown mechanisms of DIPG pathobiology.

Li Y, Jin L, Ye F, et al.
Isoform expression patterns of EPHA10 protein mediate breast cancer progression by regulating the E-Cadherin and β-catenin complex.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(18):30344-30356 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Overexpression of EPHA10 protein was reported in concomitance with clinical severity of breast cancer. In this study, we annotate overexpression of EPHA10 protein with changes of isoform expression as EphA10s (EPHA10 isoform 2) and EphA10 (EPHA10 isoform 3). In the process of malignant transformation, secretory protein EphA10s is in low expression, and pseudo-kinase EphA10 is overexpressed and cytoplasmically enriched. Down-regulated EphA10s blunts stabilization of membrane-associate β-catenin via the interaction with ephrin A5. Cytoplasmic EphA10 maintains phosphorylation of E-cadherin. Restoring isoform expression pattern by up-regulated EphA10s and down-regulated cytoplasmic EphA10 inhibits cell invasion and lymph node metastasis by strengthening the stability of the complex of E-cadherin and β-catenin in membrane. Taken together, we defined the novel interaction via expression patterns of EphA10s and EphA10 that promote malignant transformation of breast cancer, and demonstrated the potential benefit in clinical usage.

Takada S, Hojo M, Tanigaki K, Miyamoto S
Contribution of Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition to the Pathogenesis of Human Cerebral and Orbital Cavernous Malformations.
Neurosurgery. 2017; 81(1):176-183 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The analysis of gene-targeted mouse mutants has demonstrated that endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) is crucial to the onset and progression of cerebral cavernous malformations (CMs). It has also been shown that Notch and ephrin/Eph signaling are involved in EndMT. However, their roles in the pathogenesis of human intracranial CMs remain unclear.
OBJECTIVE: To elucidate the contribution of EndMT, the Notch pathway, and ephrin-B2/EphB4 signaling to the pathogenesis of human intracranial CMs.
METHODS: Eight human intracranial CMs (5 cerebral and 3 orbital CMs) were immunohistochemically investigated.
RESULTS: CD31 (an endothelial marker) and EndMT markers, such as α-smooth muscle actin (a mesenchymal marker) and CD44 (a mesenchymal stem cell marker), were expressed in the endothelial layer of vascular sinusoids in all cases, suggesting that endothelial cells (ECs) have acquired mesenchymal and stem-cell-like characteristics and undergone EndMT in all cerebral and orbital CMs. EndMT was observed in about 70% and 35% of ECs in cerebral and orbital CMs, respectively. In all cases, Notch3 was expressed in the endothelial layer, indicating that ECs of vascular sinusoids have acquired mesenchymal features. In all cases, both ephrin-B2 and EphB4 were detected in the endothelial layer, suggesting that ECs of vascular sinusoids are immature or malformed cells and have both arterial and venous characteristics.
CONCLUSION: EndMT plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of human cerebral and orbital CMs. Modulating EndMT is expected to be a new therapeutic strategy for cerebral and orbital CMs.

Ding L, Shen Y, Ni J, et al.
EphA4 promotes cell proliferation and cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance via the AKT pathway in multiple myeloma.
Tumour Biol. 2017; 39(3):1010428317694298 [PubMed] Related Publications
Eph receptor A4 (EphA4), a member of the erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular (Eph) family, has been reported to upregulate in several tumors. However, the role of EphA4 in multiple myeloma has not been clarified yet. In this study, we found that EphA4 promoted proliferation of multiple myeloma cells via the regulation of cell cycle. Besides, EphA4 was closely related to cell adhesion of multiple myeloma cells and promoted cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance by enhancing the phosphorylation levels of Akt (p-AKT) expression in multiple myeloma. More interestingly, we discovered that EphA4 can interact with cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) and regulate its expression in multiple myeloma. CDK5 has been reported to be overexpressed in multiple myeloma which mediated bortezomib resistance and also participated in AKT pathway. And we have also proved the fact. So, we supposed that EphA4 interacted with CDK5 and promoted its expression which in turn enhanced p-AKT expression and promoted cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance in multiple myeloma. Therefore, this study clarifies the molecular mechanism of cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance and may be useful in identifying potential target for treatment of multiple myeloma.

Gundry C, Marco S, Rainero E, et al.
Phosphorylation of Rab-coupling protein by LMTK3 controls Rab14-dependent EphA2 trafficking to promote cell:cell repulsion.
Nat Commun. 2017; 8:14646 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Rab GTPase effector, Rab-coupling protein (RCP) is known to promote invasive behaviour in vitro by controlling integrin and receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) trafficking, but how RCP influences metastasis in vivo is unclear. Here we identify an RTK of the Eph family, EphA2, to be a cargo of an RCP-regulated endocytic pathway which controls cell:cell repulsion and metastasis in vivo. Phosphorylation of RCP at Ser

Mateo-Lozano S, Bazzocco S, Rodrigues P, et al.
Loss of the EPH receptor B6 contributes to colorectal cancer metastasis.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7:43702 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although deregulation of EPHB signaling has been shown to be an important step in colorectal tumorigenesis, the role of EPHB6 in this process has not been investigated. We found here that manipulation of EPHB6 levels in colon cancer cell lines has no effect on their motility and growth on a solid substrate, soft agar or in a xenograft mouse model. We then used an EphB6 knockout mouse model to show that EphB6 inactivation does not efficiently initiate tumorigenesis in the intestinal tract. In addition, when intestinal tumors are initiated genetically or pharmacologically in EphB6

Andretta E, Cartón-García F, Martínez-Barriocanal Á, et al.
Investigation of the role of tyrosine kinase receptor EPHA3 in colorectal cancer.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7:41576 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
EPH signaling deregulation has been shown to be important for colorectal carcinogenesis and genome-wide sequencing efforts have identified EPHA3 as one of the most frequently mutated genes in these tumors. However, the role of EPHA3 in colorectal cancer has not been thoroughly investigated. We show here that ectopic expression of wild type EPHA3 in colon cancer cells did not affect their growth, motility/invasion or metastatic potential in vivo. Moreover, overexpression of mutant EPHA3 or deletion of the endogenous mutant EPHA3 in colon cancer cells did not affect their growth or motility. EPHA3 inactivation in mice did not initiate the tumorigenic process in their intestine, and had no effects on tumor size/multiplicity after tumor initiation either genetically or pharmacologically. In addition, immunohistochemical analysis of EPHA3 tumor levels did not reveal associations with survival or clinicopathological features of colorectal cancer patients. In conclusion, we show that EPHA3 does not play a major role in colorectal tumorigenesis. These results significantly contribute to our understanding of the role of EPH signaling during colorectal carcinogenesis, and highlighting the need for detailed functional studies to confirm the relevance of putative cancer driver genes identified in sequencing efforts of the cancer genome.

Packer LM, Geng X, Bonazzi VF, et al.
PI3K Inhibitors Synergize with FGFR Inhibitors to Enhance Antitumor Responses in FGFR2
Mol Cancer Ther. 2017; 16(4):637-648 [PubMed] Related Publications
Improved therapeutic approaches are needed for the treatment of recurrent and metastatic endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancers display hyperactivation of the MAPK and PI3K pathways, the result of somatic aberrations in genes such as

Mathot L, Kundu S, Ljungström V, et al.
Somatic Ephrin Receptor Mutations Are Associated with Metastasis in Primary Colorectal Cancer.
Cancer Res. 2017; 77(7):1730-1740 [PubMed] Related Publications
The contribution of somatic mutations to metastasis of colorectal cancers is currently unknown. To find mutations involved in the colorectal cancer metastatic process, we performed deep mutational analysis of 676 genes in 107 stages II to IV primary colorectal cancer, of which half had metastasized. The mutation prevalence in the ephrin (EPH) family of tyrosine kinase receptors was 10-fold higher in primary tumors of metastatic colorectal than in nonmetastatic cases and preferentially occurred in stage III and IV tumors. Mutational analyses

Li JJ, Sun ZJ, Yuan YM, et al.
EphB3 Stimulates Cell Migration and Metastasis in a Kinase-dependent Manner through Vav2-Rho GTPase Axis in Papillary Thyroid Cancer.
J Biol Chem. 2017; 292(3):1112-1121 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Eph receptors, the largest subfamily of transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptors, have been increasingly implicated in various physiologic and pathologic processes, and the roles of the Eph family members during tumorigenesis have recently attracted growing attentions. In the present study, we explored the function of EphB3, one member of Eph family, in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). We found that the expression of EphB3 was significantly elevated in PTC. Either overexpression of EphB3 or activation of EphB3 by EfnB1-Fc/EfnB2-Fc stimulated in vitro migration of PTC cells. In contrast, siRNA-mediated knockdown of EphB3 or EphB3-Fc treatment, which only blocked EphB3-mediated forward signaling, inhibited migration and metastasis of PTC cells. A mechanism study revealed that EphB3 knockdown led to suppressed activity of Rac1 and enhanced activity of RhoA. Moreover, we found that Vav2, an important regulator of Rho family GTPases, was activated by EphB3 in a kinase-dependent manner. Altogether, our work suggested that EphB3 acted as a tumor promoter in PTC by increasing the in vitro migration as well as the in vivo metastasis of PTC cells through regulating the activities of Vav2 and Rho GTPases in a kinase-dependent manner.

Bhatia S, Hirsch K, Sharma J, et al.
Enhancing radiosensitization in EphB4 receptor-expressing Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:38792 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Members of the Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases have been implicated in a wide array of human cancers. The EphB4 receptor is ubiquitously expressed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and has been shown to impart tumorigenic and invasive characteristics to these cancers. In this study, we investigated whether EphB4 receptor targeting can enhance the radiosensitization of HNSCC. Our data show that EphB4 is expressed at high to moderate levels in HNSCC cell lines and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumors. We observed decreased survival fractions in HNSCC cells following EphB4 knockdown in clonogenic assays. An enhanced G2 cell cycle arrest with activation of DNA damage response pathway and increased apoptosis was evident in HNSCC cells following combined EphB4 downregulation and radiation compared to EphB4 knockdown and radiation alone. Data using HNSCC PDX models showed significant reduction in tumor volume and enhanced delay in tumor regrowth following sEphB4-HSA administration with radiation compared to single agent treatment. sEphB4-HSA is a protein known to block the interaction between the EphB4 receptor and its ephrin-B2 ligand. Overall, our findings emphasize the therapeutic relevance of EphB4 targeting as a radiosensitizer that can be exploited for the treatment of human head and neck carcinomas.

Chen X, Wang X, Wei X, Wang J
EphA5 protein, a potential marker for distinguishing histological grade and prognosis in ovarian serous carcinoma.
J Ovarian Res. 2016; 9(1):83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Ovarian serous carcinoma (OSC) is the most common ovarian epithelial malignancy. Disregulation of Eph/ephrin signaling has been implicated in oncogenesis and tumor progression. EphA5 receptor is one of large families of Eph tyrosine kinase receptor and is documented in the development of nervous system. Till now, there is no published data about the role of EphA5 in ovarian epithelial neoplasmas.
METHODS: This study aims to investigate the expression of EphA5 protein in ovarian serous carcinoma, and its relationship to clinical pathological characteristics. Sixty-one cases of ovarian serous carcinoma, 24 cases of benign ovarian serous tumors, 42 cases of serous borderline tumors and 20 cases of normal fallopian tubes were examined using immunohistochemical staining. The relationship between EphA5 expression and pathological parameters was analyzed. Kaplan-Meier survival function was used to analyze prognosis of patients.
RESULTS: Immunostaining analysis demonstrated that the EphA5 protein was highly expressed in 100% (20/20) of normal fallopian tube samples, 100% (24/24) of benign epithelial ovarian tumors, 76% (32/42) of ovarian serous borderline tumors, and 31% (19/61) of ovarian serous carcinomas. Loss of EphA5expression was associated with tumor grade (P < 0.001) and FIGO stage (P = 0.005). The survival analysis showed that patients with negative or weak expression of EphA5 protein had a poor outcome than those with positive expression (P = 0.004).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that EphA5 may be a potential biomarker for distinguishing high-and low-grade ovarian serous carcinoma and a potential prognostic marker.

Peng J, Wang Q, Liu H, et al.
EPHA3 regulates the multidrug resistance of small cell lung cancer via the PI3K/BMX/STAT3 signaling pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(9):11959-11971 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major obstacle to the treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). EPHA3 has been revealed to be the most frequently mutated Eph receptor gene in lung cancer with abnormal expression. Growing evidence indicates that the signaling proteins of EPHA3 downstream, including PI3K, BMX and STAT3, play crucial roles in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. To explore the possible role of EPHA3 in MDR, we assessed the influence of EPHA3 on chemoresistance, cell cycle, apoptosis, and tumor growth, as well as the relationship between EPHA3 and the expression of PI3K, BMX, and STAT3 in SCLC. We observed that overexpression of EPHA3 in SCLC cells decreased chemoresistance by increasing apoptosis and inducing G0/G1 arrest, accompanied by reduced phosphorylation of PI3K/BMX/STAT3 signaling pathway. Knockdown of EPHA3 expression generated a resistant phenotype of SCLC, as a result of decreased apoptosis and induced G2/M phase arrest. And re-expression of EPHA3 in these cells reversed the resistant phenotype. Meanwhile, increased phosphorylation of PI3K/BMX/STAT3 signaling pathway was observed in these cells with EPHA3 deficiency. Notably, both PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) and BMX inhibitor (LFM-A13) impaired the chemoresistance enhanced by EPHA3 deficiency in SCLC cell lines. Furthermore, EPHA3 inhibited growth of SCLC cells in vivo and was correlated with longer overall survival of SCLC patients. Thus, we first provide the evidences that EPHA3 is involved in regulating the MDR of SCLC via PI3K/BMX/STAT3 signaling and may be a new therapeutic target in SCLC.

Wang X, Xu H, Cao G, et al.
Loss of EphA3 Protein Expression Is Associated With Advanced TNM Stage in Clear-Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma.
Clin Genitourin Cancer. 2017; 15(2):e169-e173 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma (Eph) receptors constitute the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases. Ephs and their ligands ephrins play an important role in development and carcinogenesis. The expression of EphA3, an Eph family member, has been investigated in a variety of human cancers, with mixed results. High levels of EphA3 protein expression have been reported in colorectal, prostate, and gastric cancers, whereas loss of protein expression has been reported in lung and hematopoietic cancers. EphA3 expression in clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) and its association with clinicopathological parameters has not previously been examined. The aim of this study was to determine the cancerous value of EphA3 protein expression in patients with ccRCC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study included 68 patients with ccRCC. EphA3 protein expression was examined in ccRCC tissue samples using immunohistochemistry and a specific polyclonal antibody, and the correlation between EphA3 expression and clinicopathological parameters was subsequently evaluated.
RESULTS: High EphA3 protein expression was observed in all normal renal tubules. In the 68 ccRCC patient samples examined, EphA3 protein expression was detected in 19 cases (27.9%) and undetectable in 49 cases (72.1%). EphA3 protein expression was significantly associated with tumor diameter (P = .016) and tumor, node metastases stage (P = .029). No significant association between protein expression and sex (P = .387), age (P = .727), or nuclear grade (P = .243) was found.
CONCLUSION: Ourdata indicate that EphA3 protein expression is reduced in ccRCC, suggesting the possibility that this receptor functions as a tumor suppressor in this disease.

Johnson C, Segovia B, Kandpal RP
EPHA7 and EPHA10 Physically Interact and Differentially Co-localize in Normal Breast and Breast Carcinoma Cell Lines, and the Co-localization Pattern Is Altered in EPHB6-expressing MDA-MB-231 Cells.
Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2016 09-10; 13(5):359-68 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma cell (EPH) receptors comprise the most abundant receptor tyrosine kinase family characterized to date in mammals including humans. These proteins are involved in axon guidance, tissue organization, vascular development and the intricate process of various diseases including cancer. These diverse functions of EPH receptors are attributed, in part, to their abilities for heterodimerization. While the interacting partners of kinase-deficient EPHB6 receptor have been characterized, the interaction of the kinase-dead EPHA10 with any other receptor has not been identified. By using co-immunoprecipitation, we demonstrated physical interaction between kinase-deficient EPHA10 with kinase-sufficient EPHA7 receptor. Immunocytochemical analyses have revealed that these two receptors co-localize on the cell surface, and soluble portions of the receptors exist as a complex in the cytoplasm as well as the nuclei. While EPHA7 and EPHA10 co-localize similarly on the membrane in MCF10A and MCF7 cells, they were differentially co-localized in MDA-MB-231 cells stably transfected with empty pcDNA vector (MDA-MB-231-PC) or an expression construct of EPHB6 (MDA-MB-231-B6). The full-length isoforms of these receptors were co-localized on the cell surface, and the soluble forms were present as a complex in the cytoplasm as well as the nucleus in MDA-MB-231-PC cells. MDA-MB-231-B6 cells, on the other hand, were distinguished by the absence of any signal in the nuclei. Our results represent the first demonstration of physical interaction between EPHA10 and EPHA7 and their cellular co-localization. Furthermore, these observations also suggest gene-regulatory functions of the complex of the soluble forms of these receptors in breast carcinoma cells of differential invasiveness.

Paul JM, Toosi B, Vizeacoumar FS, et al.
Targeting synthetic lethality between the SRC kinase and the EPHB6 receptor may benefit cancer treatment.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(31):50027-50042 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Application of tumor genome sequencing has identified numerous loss-of-function alterations in cancer cells. While these alterations are difficult to target using direct interventions, they may be attacked with the help of the synthetic lethality (SL) approach. In this approach, inhibition of one gene causes lethality only when another gene is also completely or partially inactivated. The EPHB6 receptor tyrosine kinase has been shown to have anti-malignant properties and to be downregulated in multiple cancers, which makes it a very attractive target for SL applications. In our work, we used a genome-wide SL screen combined with expression and interaction network analyses, and identified the SRC kinase as a SL partner of EPHB6 in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. Our experiments also reveal that this SL interaction can be targeted by small molecule SRC inhibitors, SU6656 and KX2-391, and can be used to improve elimination of human TNBC tumors in a xenograft model. Our observations are of potential practical importance, since TNBC is an aggressive heterogeneous malignancy with a very high rate of patient mortality due to the lack of targeted therapies, and our work indicates that FDA-approved SRC inhibitors may potentially be used in a personalized manner for treating patients with EPHB6-deficient TNBC. Our findings are also of a general interest, as EPHB6 is downregulated in multiple malignancies and our data serve as a proof of principle that EPHB6 deficiency may be targeted by small molecule inhibitors in the SL approach.

Nissinen L, Farshchian M, Riihilä P, Kähäri VM
New perspectives on role of tumor microenvironment in progression of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
Cell Tissue Res. 2016; 365(3):691-702 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidermal keratinocyte-derived cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the most common metastatic skin cancer, and its incidence is increasing worldwide. Solar UV radiation is an important risk factor for cSCC and leads to genetic and epigenetic changes both in epidermal keratinocytes and dermal cells. Tumor cells in cutaneous cSCCs typically harbor several driver gene mutations, but epidermal keratinocytes in sun-exposed normal skin also contain mutations in these same genes. Therefore, alterations in the microenvironment of premalignant lesions are evidently required for their progression to invasive and metastatic cSCC. For example, alterations in the composition of basement membrane and dermal extracellular matrix are early events in cSCC progression. The presence of microbial structures and the influx of inflammatory cells promote the secretion of proteases, which in turn regulate the availability of growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines and thus influence the growth and invasion of cSCC. Together, these observations emphasize the role of the tumor microenvironment in the progression of cSCC and identify it as a novel therapeutic target in cSCC and other malignant tumors. Graphical abstract Tumor-stroma interactions in the progression of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). Epidermal layer is separated by a well-organized basement membrane (BM) from the dermal layer. UV radiation, other environmental insults, and aging target both epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts and lead to genetic and epigenetic changes in these cells. In addition, epidermal keratinocytes in normal sun-exposed skin harbor several mutations in the cSCC driver genes. During transition to premalignant actinic keratosis (AK), the differentiation of keratinocytes is disturbed resulting in a neoplastic epithelium with hyperplastic cells. Expression of proteinases, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) by neoplastic cells and activated stromal fibroblasts and macrophages is induced in AK, and collagen XV and XVIII are lost from the dermal BM. Furthermore, inflammatory cells accumulate at the site of the hyperplastic epithelium. During a later stage of cSCC progression, the number of inflammatory cells increases, and the expression of complement components and inhibitors by tumor cells is induced (CFI complement factor I, CFH complement factor H, FHL-1 Factor H-like protein 1). In addition to MMPs, activated fibroblasts also produce growth factors and promote inflammation, growth, and invasion of tumor cells.

McCall JL, Gehring D, Clymer BK, et al.
KSR1 and EPHB4 Regulate Myc and PGC1β To Promote Survival of Human Colon Tumors.
Mol Cell Biol. 2016; 36(17):2246-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Identification and characterization of survival pathways active in tumor cells but absent in normal tissues provide opportunities to develop effective anticancer therapies with reduced toxicity to the patient. We show here that, like kinase suppressor of Ras 1 (KSR1), EPH (erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma) receptor B4 (EPHB4) is aberrantly overexpressed in human colon tumor cell lines and selectively required for their survival. KSR1 and EPHB4 support tumor cell survival by promoting the expression of downstream targets, Myc and the transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1β (PGC1β). While KSR1 promotes the aberrant expression of Myc and the PGC1β protein via a posttranscriptional mechanism, EPHB4 has a greater effect on Myc and PGC1β expression via its ability to elevate mRNA levels. Subsequent analysis of the posttranscriptional regulation demonstrated that KSR1 promotes the translation of Myc protein. These findings reveal novel KSR1- and EPHB4-dependent signaling pathways supporting the survival of colorectal cancer cells through regulation of Myc and PGC1β, suggesting that inhibition of KSR1 or EPHB4 effectors may lead to selective toxicity in colorectal tumors.

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