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Cancer Res. 2004 Sep 1;64(17):5920-4.

Differential transplantability of tumor-associated stromal cells.

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  • 1E. L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


At the time of transplantation, tumor fragments contain "passenger" cells: endothelial cells and other stromal cells from the original host. Here, we investigated the fate of genetically labeled endothelial and nonendothelial stromal cells after transplantation in syngeneic mice. We report that angiogenic stroma associated with tumor or adipose tissue persists when transplanted, remains functional, and governs the initial neovascularization of grafted tissue fragments for more than 4 weeks after implantation. Surprisingly, the passenger endothelial cells survive longer than other stromal cells, which are replaced by host-activated fibroblasts after 3 weeks. The transplantability of tumor stroma suggests that the angiogenic potential of a tumor xenograft, which determines its viability, depends on the presence of passenger endothelial cells and other stromal cells within the xenograft. These studies of tumor tissue transplantation provide a platform for exploring the role of epithelial-stromal interactions in studies of tumor heterogeneity and drug resistance.

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