Dr. Kyoko Hida and colleagues at Hokkaido University Graduate School of Dental Medicine, Sapporo, Japan and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA have found that endothelial cells associated with tumors have cytogenetic abnormalities. They report their data in the December 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.
Angiogenesis, or the growth of new blood vessels, plays a key role in tumor spread and metastasis. The endothelial cells that comprise tumor-associated blood vessels have previously been thought to be genetically stable, but recent evidence has been provided for abnormal copies of chromosomes in vascular endothelial cells in some tumor types.
Akin et al hypothesized that endothelial cells associated with human renal cell carcinoma would have cytogenetic abnormalities. They found that a portion of tumor-associated endothelial cells had aneuploidy, an abnormal number of chromosomes, and that many of these cells had stem cell-like characteristics. Abnormal endothelial cells may therefore contribute to the pathogenesis of metastatic carcinoma.
Dr. Akin and colleagues conclude that "aneuploid [tumor-assoicated endothelial cells] that organize tumor tissue surrounding the stroma might affect tumor progression and metastasis. It will be important to target abnormal tumor stroma in order to develop more effective cancer therapies."
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