EMMPRIN's expression in melanoma tissue was reported to be predictive of poor prognosis. Here we demonstrate that EMMPRIN up-regulated VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) in two different primary melanoma cell lines and consequently increased migration and proliferation of these cells while inhibiting their apoptosis. SiRNA inhibition of VEGFR-2 expression abrogated these EMMPRIN effects. EMMPRIN regulation of VEGFR-2 was mediated through the over-expression of HIF-2α and its translocation to the nucleus where it forms heterodimers with HIF-1β. These results were supported by an in vivo correlation between the expression of EMMPRIN with that of VEGFR-2 in human melanoma tissues as well as with the extent of HIF-2α localization in the nucleus. They demonstrate a novel mechanism by which EMMPRIN promotes tumor progression through HIF-2α/VEGFR-2 mediated mechanism, with an autocrine role in melanoma cell malignancy. As VEGF/VEGFR2 system has been implicated in regulation of melanoma cells migration, proliferation and apoptosis, the role of EMMPRIN in the regulation of these cellular properties was investigated. Blocking EMMPRIN by siRNA have shown that VEGF enhancement of melanoma cell migration requires EMMPRIN. The inhibition of EMMPRIN in cancer may thus simultaneously target both the VEGFR-2/VEGF system and the matrix degrading proteases to block tumor cell growth and invasion.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2012 Mar 31-Apr 4; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2012;72(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 5284. doi:1538-7445.AM2012-5284