BICC1 drives pancreatic cancer progression by inducing VEGF-independent angiogenesis

Chongbiao Huang, Hui Li, Yang Xu, Chao Xu, Huizhi Sun, Zengxun Li, Yi Ge, Hongwei Wang, Tiansuo Zhao, Song Gao, Xiuchao Wang, Shengyu Yang, Peiqing Sun, Zhe Liu, Jing Liu, Antao Chang, Jihui Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


VEGF inhibitors are one of the most successful antiangiogenic drugs in the treatment of many solid tumors. Nevertheless, pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PAAD) cells can reinstate tumor angiogenesis via activation of VEGF-independent pathways, thereby conferring resistance to VEGF inhibitors. Bioinformatic analysis showed that BICC1 was one of the top genes involved in the specific angiogenesis process of PAAD. The analysis of our own cohort confirmed that BICC1 was overexpressed in human PAAD tissues and was correlated to increased microvessel density and tumor growth, and worse prognosis. In cells and mice with xenograft tumors, BICC1 facilitated angiogenesis in pancreatic cancer in a VEGF-independent manner. Mechanistically, as an RNA binding protein, BICC1 bounds to the 3’UTR of Lipocalin-2 (LCN2) mRNA and post-transcriptionally up-regulated LCN2 expression in PAAD cells. When its level is elevated, LCN2 binds to its receptor 24p3R, which directly phosphorylates JAK2 and activates JAK2/STAT3 signal, leading to increased production of an angiogenic factor CXCL1. Blocking of the BICC1/LCN2 signalling reduced the microvessel density and tumor volume of PAAD cell grafts in mice, and increased the tumor suppressive effect of gemcitabine. In conclusion, BICC1 plays a pivotal role in the process of VEGF-independent angiogenesis in pancreatic cancer, leading to resistance to VEGF inhibitors. BICC1/LCN2 signaling may serve as a promising anti-angiogenic therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number271
JournalSignal Transduction and Targeted Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

Cite this