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PLoS One. 2014 Oct 2;9(10):e109748. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109748. eCollection 2014.

VE-cadherin-independent cancer cell incorporation into the vascular endothelium precedes transmigration.

Author information

1
Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America.

Abstract

Metastasis is accountable for 90% of cancer deaths. During metastasis, tumor cells break away from the primary tumor, enter the blood and the lymph vessels, and use them as highways to travel to distant sites in the body to form secondary tumors. Cancer cell migration through the endothelium and into the basement membrane represents a critical step in the metastatic cascade, yet it is not well understood. This process is well characterized for immune cells that routinely transmigrate through the endothelium to sites of infection, inflammation, or injury. Previous studies with leukocytes have demonstrated that this step depends heavily on the activation status of the endothelium and subendothelial substrate stiffness. Here, we used a previously established in vitro model of the endothelium and live cell imaging, in order to observe cancer cell transmigration and compare this process to leukocytes. Interestingly, cancer cell transmigration includes an additional step, which we term 'incorporation', into the endothelial cell (EC) monolayer. During this phase, cancer cells physically displace ECs, leading to the dislocation of EC VE-cadherin away from EC junctions bordering cancer cells, and spread into the monolayer. In some cases, ECs completely detach from the matrix. Furthermore, cancer cell incorporation occurs independently of the activation status and the subendothelial substrate stiffness for breast cancer and melanoma cells, a notable difference from the process by which leukocytes transmigrate. Meanwhile, pancreatic cancer cell incorporation was dependent on the activation status of the endothelium and changed on very stiff subendothelial substrates. Collectively, our results provide mechanistic insights into tumor cell extravasation and demonstrate that incorporation is one of the earliest steps.

PMID:
25275457
PMCID:
PMC4183660
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0109748
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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