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Br J Cancer. 2002 Dec 2;87(12):1454-61.

Induction of vasculogenesis in breast cancer models.

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Pharmacology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tsukiji 5-1-1, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan.


Recently, there have been reports of postnatal vasculogenesis in cases of ischaemia models. The aim of the present study is to provide evidence of postnatal vasculogenesis in breast-cancer-bearing mice. Based on cell surface antigen expression, we isolated endothelial precursor cells from bone marrow, peripheral blood and tumour-infiltrating cells from mice that had received six human breast cancer xenografts. In all three areas (bone marrow, peripheral blood and tumour-infiltrating cells), endothelial precursor cell population was elevated in all transplanted mice. Differentiation and migration activities of endothelial precursor cells were measured by comparing levels of the endothelial precursor cell maturation markers Flk-1, Flt-1, Tie2, VE-cadherin and CD31 among these three areas. The endothelial precursor cell population was 14% or greater in the gated lymphocyte-size fraction of the inflammatory breast cancer xenograft named WIBC-9, which exhibits a hypervascular structure and de novo formation of vascular channels, namely vasculogenic mimicry (Shirakawa et al, 2001). In vitro, bone marrow-derived endothelial precursor cells from four human breast cancer xenografts proliferated and formed multiple clusters of spindle-shaped attaching cells on a vitronectin-coated dish. The attaching cells, which incorporated DiI-labelled acetylated low-density lipoprotein (DiI-acLDL) and were negative for Mac-1. The putative bone marrow derived endothelial precursor cell subset, which was double positive of CD34 and Flk-1, and comparative bone marrow derived CD34 positive with Flk-1 negative subset were cultured. The former subset incorporated DiI-acLDL and were integrated with HUVECs. Furthermore, they demonstrated significantly higher levels of murine vascular endothelial growth factor and interleukin-8 in culture supernatant on time course by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. These findings constitute direct evidence that breast cancer induces postnatal vasculogenesis in vivo.

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