Preparing the "Soil": The Primary Tumor Induces Vasculature Reorganization in the Sentinel Lymph Node before the Arrival of Metastatic Cancer Cells

Sun Yat-Sen University, Shengcheng, Guangdong, China
Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 9.33). 12/2006; 66(21):10365-76. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-2977
Source: PubMed


Sentinel lymph node (SLN) metastasis is the first step in the spreading of cancer in many malignancies. Tumor-reactive lymphadenopathy in SLNs has been observed for decades, but alterations of the lymphatic channels and vasculature in these nodes before the arrival of metastatic tumor cells remain unexplored. Using animal models, we show here that, before the establishment of metastasis in the SLN, there are reorganizations of the lymphatic channels and the vasculature. The node becomes a functional blood vessel-enriched and lymph vessel/sinus-enriched organ before metastasis. The enlargement of the lymph sinuses is correlated with the primary tumor weight. The newly emerged functional blood vessels develop from high endothelial venules (HEV), in which the proliferation rate of the endothelial cells is also significantly increased. Similar alterations of the HEVs are also characterized in the axillary lymph nodes from human breast cancer patients without the evidence of metastasis. These findings support the hypothesis that modification of the microenvironment for a secondary tumor (i.e., vasculature reorganization in the SLN) can be initiated by a primary tumor before and independent of the physical presence of metastatic cancer cells.

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    • "In our previous study, we isolated a highly metastatic NPC cellular clone, S18, and a low metastatic clone, S26, from the parental NPC cell line CNE-2 [19]. It has been reported that S18 is more resistant to cisplatin treatment then its parental CNE-2 line and the low metastatic S26 clone [20]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Radiation and cisplatin-based chemotherapy are major treatments for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). However, a major impediment for further improving the cure rate is the development of treatment resistance with an undetermined molecular mechanism in metastatic NPC cells. Our established, highly metastatic NPC cells have been reported to be more resistant to cisplatin chemotherapy. In the present study, we found that Ras association domain family member 6 (RASSF6) was downregulated in highly metastatic cells but upregulated in low metastatic cells in comparison to their parental cell line. Ectopic-expression of RASSF6 enhanced the sensitivity of highly metastatic NPC cells to cisplatin or radiation by enhancing apoptosis. RASSF6 depletion conversely reduced treatment sensitivity by decreasing the apoptosis rate. Over-expression of RASSF6 in highly metastatic NPC cells could enhance the phosphorylation of JNK when exposed to cisplatin or radiation treatment, while knocking down RASSF6 in low metastatic NPC cells could reduce the level of phospho-JNK when exposed to the same treatments. The activation of JNK signaling by RASSF6 and its subsequent sensitivity to apoptosis in NPC cells could be inhibited by applying the JNK inhibitor SP600125. In conclusion, the downregulation of RASSF6 in highly metastatic NPC cells contributed to their treatment resistance, and over-expression of RASSF6 conferred treatment sensitivity to highly metastatic NPC cells by activating JNK signaling. RASSF6 could be a valuable molecular marker for identifying sensitive metastatic NPC tumors during cisplatin treatment or radiotherapy.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In addition to increased cervical lymph node volume, power Doppler HF US demonstrated that 4-NQO treated mice have greater median blood flow in their mandibular node after tumor onset (Figure 3E). Primary tumors have been shown to induce vasculature reorganization within downstream lymph nodes, preparing the nodal microenvironment (“soil”) prior to tumor cell arrival (“seed”) in order to better support metastatic colonization [50]. This is achieved by angiogenic induction of microvasculature, including high endothelial venules, within lymph nodes before tumor cell arrival [50]–[52]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cervical lymph node evaluation by clinical ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure used in diagnosing nodal status, and when combined with fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC), provides an effective method to assess nodal pathologies. Development of high-frequency ultrasound (HF US) allows real-time monitoring of lymph node alterations in animal models. While HF US is frequently used in animal models of tumor biology, use of HF US for studying cervical lymph nodes alterations associated with murine models of head and neck cancer, or any other model of lymphadenopathy, is lacking. Here we utilize HF US to monitor cervical lymph nodes changes in mice following exposure to the oral cancer-inducing carcinogen 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4-NQO) and in mice with systemic autoimmunity. 4-NQO induces tumors within the mouse oral cavity as early as 19 wks that recapitulate HNSCC. Monitoring of cervical (mandibular) lymph nodes by gray scale and power Doppler sonography revealed changes in lymph node size eight weeks after 4-NQO treatment, prior to tumor formation. 4-NQO causes changes in cervical node blood flow resulting from oral tumor progression. Histological evaluation indicated that the early 4-NQO induced changes in lymph node volume were due to specific hyperproliferation of T-cell enriched zones in the paracortex. We also show that HF US can be used to perform image-guided fine needle aspirate (FNA) biopsies on mice with enlarged mandibular lymph nodes due to genetic mutation of Fas ligand (Fasl). Collectively these studies indicate that HF US is an effective technique for the non-invasive study of cervical lymph node alterations in live mouse models of oral cancer and other mouse models containing cervical lymphadenopathy.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In addition to this hypothetical role of providing the physical shortcut route in the LN, evident from the presence of significant abundance of red blood cells within the HEV and significant increase size of its lumen in the presence of a tumor, hints that HEV presumably functions like a blood vessel in anticipation to supply the needs for an accelerating growth of a soon-to-arrive tumor deposit [5,10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background High endothelial venules (HEV) have been recognized to play a role in metastasis by its changes seen in the cancer microenvironment of lymph nodes (LN) and solid cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the tongue is a prevalent tumor of the head and neck region with high propensity for LN metastasis. The extent of LN metastasis is the most reliable adverse prognostic factor. Primary tumors can induce vasculature reorganization within sentinel LN before the arrival of tumor cells and HEV represents these remodelled vessels. This study aims to evaluate the cancer induced vascular changes in regional lymph nodes (LN) of patients by studying the morphological and functional alterations of HEV and its correlation with clinical outcome and pathological features. Methods This study was based on 65 patients with SCC tongue who underwent primary surgical treatment including neck dissection. The patients were categorized into 2 groups based on the presence of malignancy in their cervical lymph nodes. A review of the patients' pathological and clinical data was performed from a prospective database. Immunohistochemical staining of the tissue blocks for HEV and high-power-field image analysis were performed and analyzed with correlation to the patients' clinical and pathological features. Results The total number of HEV was found to be significantly associated to disease-free interval. There was a similar association comparing the HEV parameters to overall survival. The density of abnormal HEV was significantly higher in patients with established metastases in their lymph nodes and HEV was shown to be a better prognosis factor than conventional tumor staging. The HEV morphological metamorphosis demonstrates a spectrum that correlates well with disease progression and clinical outcome. Conclusions The results suggest that the HEV displays a spectrum of morphological changes in the presence of cancer and LN metastasis, and that HEV is possibly involved in the process of cancer metastasis. We revealed the relationship of HEV and their metamorphosis in pre-metastatic and metastatic environments in regional lymph nodes of tongue cancer patients in relation to clinical outcomes. The significant observation of modified dilated HEV containing red blood cells in lymph nodal basin of a cancer suggests the shifting of its function from one primarily of immune response to that of a blood carrying vessel. It also demonstrated potential prognostic value. More studies are needed to elucidate its potential role in cancer immunotherapy and as a potential novel therapeutic approach to preventing metastasis by manipulating the remodelling processes of HEV.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Journal of Translational Medicine
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