Background: Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is one of the deadliest gynecologic cancers. The etiology of EOC has still not been elucidated thoroughly. Tumor necrosis factor-α-induced protein 8-like2 (TNFAIP8L2, TIPE2), an important regulator of inflammation and immune homeostasis, plays a critical role in the progression of various cancers. This study aims to investigate the role of TIPE2 in EOC.

Methods: Expression of TIPE2 protein and mRNA in EOC tissues and cell lines was examined using Western blot and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The functions of TIPE2 in EOC were investigated by cell proliferation assay, colony assay, transwell assay, and apoptosis analysis in vitro. To further investigate the regulatory mechanisms of TIPE2 in EOC, RNA-seq and western blot were performed. Finally, the CIBERSORT algorithm and databases including Tumor Immune Single-cell Hub (TISCH), Tumor Immune Estimation Resource (TIMER), Tumor-Immune System Interaction (TISIDB), and The Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA) were used to elucidate its potential role in regulating tumor immune infiltration in the tumor microenvironment (TME).

Results: TIPE2 expression was shown to be considerably lower in both EOC samples and cell lines. Overexpression of TIPE2 suppressed EOC cell proliferation, colony formation, and motility in vitro. Mechanistically, TIPE2 suppressed EOC by blocking the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, according to bioinformatics analysis and western blot in TIPE2 overexpression EOC cell lines, and the anti-oncogenic potentials of TIPE2 in EOC cells could be partially abrogated by the PI3K agonist, 740Y-P. Finally, TIPE2 expression was positively associated with various immune cells and possibly involved in the regulation of macrophage polarization in ovarian cancer.

Conclusions: We detail the regulatory mechanism of TIPE2 in EOC carcinogenesis, as well as how it correlates with immune infiltration, emphasizing its potential as a therapeutic target in ovarian cancer.