A Novel Model for Evaluating Therapies Targeting Human Tumor Vasculature and Human Cancer Stem-like Cells
Human tumor vessels express tumor vascular markers (TVMs), proteins that are not expressed in normal blood vessels. Antibodies targeting TVMs could act as potent therapeutics. Unfortunately, preclinical in vivo studies testing anti-human TVM therapies have been difficult to perform due to a lack of in vivo models with confirmed expression of human TVMs. We therefore evaluated TVM expression in a human embryonic stem cell derived teratoma (hESCT) tumor model previously shown to have human vessels. We now report that, in the presence of tumor cells, hESCT tumor vessels express human TVMs. The addition of mouse embryonic fibroblasts and human tumor endothelial cells significantly increases the number of human tumor vessels. TVM induction is mostly tumor type specific with ovarian cancer cells inducing primarily ovarian TVMs while breast cancer cells induce breast cancer specific TVMs. We demonstrate the utility of this model to test an anti-human specific TVM immunotherapeutics; anti-human Thy-1 TVM immunotherapy results in central tumor necrosis and a three-fold reduction in human tumor vascular density. Finally, we tested the ability of the hESCT model, with human tumor vascular niche, to enhance the engraftment rate of primary human ovarian cancer stem-like cells (CSC). ALDH+ CSC from patients (n=6) engrafted in hESCT within 4-12 weeks whereas none engrafted in the flank. ALDH- ovarian cancer cells showed no engraftment in the hESCT or flank (n=3). Thus this model represents a useful tool to test anti-human TVM therapy and evaluate in vivo human CSC tumor biology.