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Contrib Microbiol. 2006;13:200-208. doi: 10.1159/000092974.

Visualization of tumor cell extravasation.

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Institute of Immunology, University of Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany.


In cancer the blood-borne spread of tumor cells leads to the formation of secondary tumors at distant loci, whereby the extravasation of tumor cells is a prerequisite step during hematogenous metastasis. In regard to the fate of endothelial cells located at the site of tumor cell infiltration, tumor cell-endothelial interactions were analyzed using an in vitro real-time model. This model shows the complete sequence of the transmigration process and gave new insights into the complex and dynamic cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions which occur during tumor cell transmigration across the endothelial barrier. An in vitro real-time apoptosis assay permits the distinction between apoptotic cell death from necrotic cell death. This model indicates that transmigration of tumor cell clusters derived from the invasive human bladder carcinoma cell line T24 irreversibly damages the endothelial cells by inducing apoptosis at the site of tumor cell infiltration. It is postulated here that apoptosis induction facilitates the removal of detached endothelial cells, thereby forestalling a local inflammatory response which might be detrimental to extravasating tumor cells.

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