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Microvasc Res. 2013 Jan;85:16-23. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Nov 10.

Tumor-line specific causes of intertumor heterogeneity in blood supply in human melanoma xenografts.

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Group of Radiation Biology and Tumor Physiology, Department of Radiation Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


The efficacy of most cancer treatments is strongly influenced by the tumor blood supply. The results of experimental studies using xenografted tumors to evaluate novel cancer treatments may therefore vary considerably depending on the blood supply of the specific tumor model being used. Mechanisms underlying intertumor heterogeneity in the blood supply of xenografted tumors derived from same tumor line are poorly understood, and were investigated here by using intravital microscopy to assess tumor blood supply and vascular morphology in human melanomas growing in dorsal window chambers in BALB/c nu/nu mice. Two melanoma lines, A-07 and R-18, were included in the study. These lines differed substantially in angiogenic profiles. Thus, when the expression of 84 angiogenesis-related genes was investigated with a quantitative PCR array, 25% of these genes showed more than a 10-fold difference in expression. Furthermore, A-07 tumors showed higher vascular density, higher vessel tortuosity, higher vessel diameters, shorter vessel segments, and more chaotic vascular architecture than R-18 tumors. Both lines showed large intertumor heterogeneity in blood supply. In the A-07 line, tumors with low microvascular density, long vessel segment, and high vessel tortuosity showed poor blood supply, whereas in the R-18 line, poor tumor blood supply was associated with low tumor arteriolar diameters. Thus, tumor-line specific causes of intertumor heterogeneity in blood supply were identified in human melanoma xenografts, and these tumor-line specific mechanisms were possibly a result of tumor-line specific angiogenic profiles.

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