Erythropoietin Stimulates Tumor Growth via EphB4

Erythropoietin Stimulates Tumor Growth via EphB4

Pradeep S, 2015, Cancer Cell (Link to abstract)


In the adult world, recombinant erythropoietin had been used to treat anemia associated with cancer until several studies showed an association with poorer survival. However, this association has been tenuous without a clear mechanism (the Epo receptor isn’t present in many tumor cells). This group hypothesized that Epo binds to another receptor and found one using an in-silico analysis – EphB4. They then showed in vitro and in vivo that this ligand-receptor interaction leads to cell proliferation and migration. Finally, they found that women with ovarian or breast carcinoma treated with Epo whose tumors expressed EphB4 had worse survival than those whose tumors had low expression.


* Now that there’s a mechanism it seems pretty solid that Epo is not a good choice for treating anemia associated with cancer. We hadn’t used it before in pediatrics but now we probably never will (pending better evidence).