Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Iowa Study Investigates Embryonic-Like Ability Of Aggressive Melanoma Cells

Date:
June 27, 2001
Source:
University Of Iowa
Summary:
University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues have discovered that a protein usually found in endothelial cells (the cells that form blood vessels) is also made by aggressive melanoma cells.

IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues have discovered that a protein usually found in endothelial cells (the cells that form blood vessels) is also made by aggressive melanoma cells.

The team's research shows that the protein, Vascular Endothelial Cadherin (VE-Cadherin), plays a key role in the ability of these cancer cells to form primitive vascular networks. The results of the study appear in the June 19 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

During embryonic development, primitive blood vessels are initially formed by embryonic cells that develop into endothelial cells and establish vascular networks – a process called vasculogenesis. The subsequent growth and remodeling of these networks occurs through angiogenesis, which involves the sprouting of new blood vessels from the existing vascular network.

UI researchers and their collaborators recently discovered that aggressive melanoma cells have the ability to form primitive tubular networks from scratch. The researchers called the process, which resembles embryonic vasculogenesis, vasculogenic mimicry.

The UI researchers and their colleagues have also shown that in addition to their own specific cellular markers, aggressive tumor cells display the molecular and genetic hallmarks of other cell types such as expressing VE-Cadherin, which is normally associated with endothelial cells.

"We are discovering that these tumor cells are really quite flexible in that they can look like or mimic other cell types," said Mary J. C. Hendrix, Ph.D., Kate Daum Research Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the UI and head of the department. "Our studies suggest that highly aggressive melanoma tumors, which can form these primitive networks, have reverted to a more embryonic-like state and have regained a stem cell-like ability to form different types of cells with related functions.

"Thinking about tumors as embryos, or embryonic masses, is a novel way of hypothesizing about how tumor cells behave," added Hendrix, who also is deputy director and associate director of basic research at the UI Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In the latest study, melanoma samples were taken from patients and analyzed. VE-Cadherin was clearly present in the aggressive melanoma cells and completely absent in those that were poorly aggressive. The aggressive melanoma tumors cells were able to form primitive tubular networks, while the poorly aggressive melanoma cells were not able to form the primitive networks. This pattern held true when other aggressive and poorly aggressive melanoma cell samples were analyzed.

"This is such a remarkable on/off expression pattern," Hendrix said. "We’d like to suggest that the presence of VE-Cadherin might represent a vasculogenic switch, which may play an important role in the acquisition of a blood supply needed by a growing tumor."

This interpretation has implications for the treatment of melanoma. If the tumor cells do not make VE-Cadherin, the findings suggest that those melanomas will likely be poorly aggressive. If the cells do make VE-Cadherin, then they will likely be quite aggressive and will require aggressive treatment.

Using a technology called anti-sense DNA to turn off or inhibit the production of the VE-Cadherin protein, the research team went on to prove that the presence of VE-Cadherin protein was essential to the formation of the vasculogenic networks. Without the protein, the cells were no longer able to form primitive vascular network structures.

"This is really direct evidence that the VE-Cadherin molecule is a critical player in the process of vasculogenic mimicry," Hendrix said.

Other recent work from Hendrix's lab with Anil K. Sood, M.D., UI assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, has shown that vasculogenic mimicry also occurs in ovarian cancer cells.

"If you think about the clinical significance of our findings, it is both exciting and challenging," Hendrix said. "It’s a challenge because if these highly aggressive melanoma cells and potentially other tumor cells look like normal endothelial cells how do you diagnose them?"

Hendrix added that work in her lab would now focus on developing new detection technologies for identifying and diagnosing these cells accurately. "It is exciting because this research will allow us to investigate the significance of other kinds of cellular markers, in addition to VE-Cadherin, that these tumor cells can make," Hendrix said. "I think it will really open the field to the possibility that tumor cells can mimic other cell types."

In addition to Hendrix, the UI research team included Elisabeth A. Seftor, Lynn M. G. Gardner, Angela R. Hess, Dawn A. Kirschmann, Ph.D., Gina C. Schatteman, Ph.D., and Richard E. B. Seftor, Ph.D. Also part of the team was Paul Meltzer, M.D., Ph.D., of the Cancer Genetics Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md.

The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Iowa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Iowa. "University Of Iowa Study Investigates Embryonic-Like Ability Of Aggressive Melanoma Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010619074513.htm>.
University Of Iowa. (2001, June 27). University Of Iowa Study Investigates Embryonic-Like Ability Of Aggressive Melanoma Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010619074513.htm
University Of Iowa. "University Of Iowa Study Investigates Embryonic-Like Ability Of Aggressive Melanoma Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/06/010619074513.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins