Background & AimsColorectal cancer (CRC) is highly metastatic. Metastases spread directly into local tissue or invade distant organs via blood and lymphatic vessels, but the role of lymphangiogenesis in CRC progression has not been determined. Lymphangiogenesis is induced via vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGFC) activation of its receptor, VEGFR3; high levels of VEGFC have been measured in colorectal tumors undergoing lymphangiogenesis, and correlated with metastasis. We investigated VEGFC signaling and lymphatic barriers in human tumor tissues and mice with orthotopic colorectal tumors.MethodsWe performed immunohistochemical, immunoblot, and real-time PCR analyses of colorectal tumor specimens collected from patients; healthy intestinal tissues collected during surgeries of patients without CRC were used as controls. CT26 CRC cells were injected into the distal posterior rectum of BALB/c-nude mice. Mice were given injections of an antibody against VEGFR3 or an adenovirus encoding human VEGFC before orthotopic tumors and metastases formed. Lymph node, lung, and liver tissues were collected and evaluated by flow cytometry. We measured expression of vascular endothelial cadherin (CDH5) on lymphatic vessels in mice and in human intestinal lymphatic endothelial cells.ResultsLevels of podoplanin (a marker of lymphatic vessels), VEGFC, and VEGFR3 were increased in colorectal tumor tissues, compared with controls. Mice that expressed VEGFC from the adenoviral vector had increased lymphatic vessel density and more metastases in lymph nodes, lungs, and livers, compared with control mice. Anti-VEGR3 antibody reduced numbers of lymphatic vessels in colons and prevented metastasis. Expression of VEGFC compromised the lymphatic endothelial barrier in mice and endothelial cells, reducing expression of CDH5, increasing permeability, and increasing trans-endothelial migration by CRC cells. Opposite effects were observed in mice and cells when VEGFR3 was blocked.ConclusionsVEGFC signaling via VEGFR3 promotes lymphangiogenesis and metastasis by orthotopic colorectal tumors in mice and reduces lymphatic endothelial barrier integrity. Levels of VEGFC and markers of lymphatic vessels are increased in CRC tissues from patients, compared with healthy intestine. Strategies to block VEGFR3 might be developed to prevent CRC metastasis in patients.

Vascular endothelial growth factor C disrupts the endothelial lymphatic barrier to promote colorectal cancer invasion

Spinelli A;S. Danese
2015

Abstract

Background & AimsColorectal cancer (CRC) is highly metastatic. Metastases spread directly into local tissue or invade distant organs via blood and lymphatic vessels, but the role of lymphangiogenesis in CRC progression has not been determined. Lymphangiogenesis is induced via vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGFC) activation of its receptor, VEGFR3; high levels of VEGFC have been measured in colorectal tumors undergoing lymphangiogenesis, and correlated with metastasis. We investigated VEGFC signaling and lymphatic barriers in human tumor tissues and mice with orthotopic colorectal tumors.MethodsWe performed immunohistochemical, immunoblot, and real-time PCR analyses of colorectal tumor specimens collected from patients; healthy intestinal tissues collected during surgeries of patients without CRC were used as controls. CT26 CRC cells were injected into the distal posterior rectum of BALB/c-nude mice. Mice were given injections of an antibody against VEGFR3 or an adenovirus encoding human VEGFC before orthotopic tumors and metastases formed. Lymph node, lung, and liver tissues were collected and evaluated by flow cytometry. We measured expression of vascular endothelial cadherin (CDH5) on lymphatic vessels in mice and in human intestinal lymphatic endothelial cells.ResultsLevels of podoplanin (a marker of lymphatic vessels), VEGFC, and VEGFR3 were increased in colorectal tumor tissues, compared with controls. Mice that expressed VEGFC from the adenoviral vector had increased lymphatic vessel density and more metastases in lymph nodes, lungs, and livers, compared with control mice. Anti-VEGR3 antibody reduced numbers of lymphatic vessels in colons and prevented metastasis. Expression of VEGFC compromised the lymphatic endothelial barrier in mice and endothelial cells, reducing expression of CDH5, increasing permeability, and increasing trans-endothelial migration by CRC cells. Opposite effects were observed in mice and cells when VEGFR3 was blocked.ConclusionsVEGFC signaling via VEGFR3 promotes lymphangiogenesis and metastasis by orthotopic colorectal tumors in mice and reduces lymphatic endothelial barrier integrity. Levels of VEGFC and markers of lymphatic vessels are increased in CRC tissues from patients, compared with healthy intestine. Strategies to block VEGFR3 might be developed to prevent CRC metastasis in patients.
colon cancer; mouse model; tumor progression; VEGFC
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11699/13578
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