J Cancer 2018; 9(8):1379-1384. doi:10.7150/jca.23769

Research Paper

Oxytocin inhibits ovarian cancer metastasis by repressing the expression of MMP-2 and VEGF

Haoyi Ji1, Na Liu2, Yingchun Yin3, Xinmei Wang3, Xiaoyang Chen1, Jing Li3✉, Jingxin Li4✉

1. Department of Medical Ethics, School of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China
2. Department of Hematology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China.
3. Department of Pathology, Central Hospital of Zibo, Zibo 255036, China
4. Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China

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Citation:
Ji H, Liu N, Yin Y, Wang X, Chen X, Li J, Li J. Oxytocin inhibits ovarian cancer metastasis by repressing the expression of MMP-2 and VEGF. J Cancer 2018; 9(8):1379-1384. doi:10.7150/jca.23769. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v09p1379.htm

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Abstract

Breastfeeding is associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer. However, the mechanism underlying this apparent clinical benefit is unknown. Oxytocin (OXT), a hypothalamic nonapetide, plays a crucial role in many reproductive and behavioural functions. In recent year, OXT acts as a growth regulator in many kind of tumor tissues, through the activation of a specific G-coupled transmembrane receptor, the oxytocin receptor (OXTR). OXT has been proved to inhibit the proliferation, migration and invasion of ovarian cancer SKOV3 cells in vitro. But, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we found OXT inhibited proliferation, and critically migration and invasion of human ovarian cancer cells SKOV3 and A2780. Strikingly, OXT inhibited ovarian cancer metastasis by repressing the expressions of MMP-2 and VEGF. Moreover, OXT inhibited vascular endothelial cell tube formation by reducing the VEGF production from ovarian cancer cells. Our findings may provide a possible explanation for breastfeeding-associated protective effects and suggest new therapeutic opportunities for ovarian cancer.

Keywords: Oxytocin, ovarian cancer, metastasis, MMP-2, VEGF