Disabled-2: a protein up-regulated by high molecular weight hyaluronan has both tumor promoting and tumor suppressor roles in ovarian cancer

Zoe K. Price, Noor A. Lokman, Mai Sugiyama, Yoshihiro Koya, Masato Yoshihara, Martin K. Oehler, Hiroaki Kajiyama, Carmela Ricciardelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Although the pro-tumorigenic functions of hyaluronan (HA) are well documented there is limited information on the effects and targets of different molecular weight HA. Here, we investigated the effects of 27 kDa, 183 kDa and 1000 kDa HA on ES-2 ovarian cancer cells overexpressing the stem cell associated protein, Notch3. 1000 kDA HA promoted spheroid formation in ES-2 cells mixed with ES-2 overexpressing Notch3 (1:3). We report disabled-2 (DAB2) as a novel protein regulated by 1000 kDa HA and further investigated its role in ovarian cancer. DAB2 was downregulated in ovarian cancer compared to normal tissues but increased in metastatic ovarian tumors compared to primary tumors. High DAB2 expression was associated with poor patient outcome and positively correlated with HA synthesis enzyme HAS2, HA receptor CD44 and EMT and macrophage markers. Stromal DAB2 immunostaining was significantly increased in matched ovarian cancer tissues at relapse compared to diagnosis and associated with reduced survival. The proportion of DAB2 positive macrophages was significantly increased in metastatic ovarian cancer tissues compared to primary cancers. However, DAB2 overexpression significantly reduced invasion by both A2780 and OVCAR3 cells in vivo. Our research identifies a novel relationship between HA signalling, Notch3 and DAB2. We highlight a complex relationship of both pro-tumorigenic and tumor suppressive functions of DAB2 in ovarian cancer. Our findings highlight that DAB2 has a direct tumor suppressive role on ovarian cancer cells. The pro-tumorigenic role of DAB2 may be mediated by tumour associated macrophages and requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number320
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Disabled-2
  • EMT
  • Hyaluronan
  • Metastasis
  • Notch3
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

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