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Vasc Cell. 2012 Mar 9;4(1):3. doi: 10.1186/2045-824X-4-3.

Specific tumor-stroma interactions of EBV-positive Burkitt's lymphoma cells in the chick chorioallantoic membrane.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University Medicine Goettingen, 37075 Goettingen, Germany.
Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Medicine Goettingen, 37075 Goettingen, Germany.
Contributed equally



Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) is an aggressive Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is able to transform B cells and is a causative infectious agent in BL. The precise role of EBV in lymphoma progression is still unclear. Most investigations have concentrated on cell autonomous functions of EBV in B cells. Functions of the local environment in BL progression have rarely been studied, mainly due to the lack of appropriate in vivo models. Therefore, we inoculated different human BL cell-lines onto the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of embryonic day 10 (ED10) chick embryos and re-incubated until ED14 and ED17.


All cell-lines formed solid tumors. However, we observed strong differences in the behavior of EBV+ and EBV- cell-lines. Tumor borders of EBV+ cells were very fuzzy and numerous cells migrated into the CAM. In EBV- tumors, the borders were much better defined. In contrast to EBV- cells, the EBV+ cells induced massive immigration of chick leukocytes at the tumor borders and the development of granulation tissue with large numbers of blood vessels and lymphatics, although the expression of pro- and anti-angiogenic forms of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors/receptors was the same in all BL cell-lines tested. The EBV+ cell-lines massively disseminated via the lymphatics and completely occluded them.


Our data suggest that the EBV+ cells attract pro-angiogenic leukocytes, which then induce secondary tumor-stroma interactions contributing to the progression of BL. We show that the CAM is a highly suitable in vivo model to study the differential behavior of BL cell-lines.

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