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Biomaterials. 2012 Jan;33(3):876-85. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.10.002. Epub 2011 Oct 22.

The use of chemokine-releasing tissue engineering scaffolds in a model of inflammatory response-mediated melanoma cancer metastasis.

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Bioengineering Department, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019-0138, USA.


Inflammatory responses and associated products have been implicated in cancer metastasis. However, the relationship between these two processes is uncertain due to the lack of a suitable model. Taking advantage of localized and controllable inflammatory responses induced by biomaterial implantation and the capability of tissue scaffolds to release a wide variety of chemokines, we report a novel system for studying the molecular mechanisms of inflammation-mediated cancer metastasis. The animal model is comprised of an initial subcutaneous implantation of biomaterial microspheres which prompt localized inflammatory responses, followed by the transplantation of metastatic cancer cells into the peritoneal cavity or blood circulation. Histological results demonstrated that substantial numbers of B16F10 cells were recruited to the site nearby biomaterial implants. There was a strong correlation between the degree of biomaterial-mediated inflammatory responses and number of recruited cancer cells. Inflammation-mediated cancer cell migration was inhibited by small molecule inhibitors of CXCR4 but not by neutralizing antibody against CCL21. Using chemokine-releasing scaffolds, further studies were carried out to explore the possibility of enhancing cancer cell recruitment. Interestingly, erythropoietin (EPO) releasing scaffolds, but not stromal cell-derived factor-1α-releasing scaffolds, were found to accumulate substantially more melanoma cells than controls. Rather unexpectedly, perhaps by indirectly reducing circulating cancer cells, mice implanted with EPO-releasing scaffolds had ~30% longer life span than other groups. These results suggest that chemokine-releasing scaffolds may potentially function as implantable cancer traps and serve as powerful tools for studying cancer distraction and even selective annihilation of circulating metastatic cancer cells.

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