Tumors have been thought to initiate as avascular aggregates of malignant cells that only later induce vascularization. Recently, this classic concept of tumor angiogenesis has been challenged by the suggestion that tumor cells grow by co-opting preexisting host vessels and thus initiate as well-vascularized tumors without triggering angiogenesis. To discriminate between these two mechanisms, we have used intravital epifluorescence microscopy and multi-photon laser scanning confocal microscopy to visualize C6 microglioma vascularization and tumor cell behavior. To address the mechanisms underlying tumor initiation, we assessed the expression of VEGF, VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), as well as endothelial cell proliferation. We show that multicellular aggregates (<< 1 mm3) initiate vascular growth by angiogenic sprouting via the simultaneous expression of VEGFR-2 and Ang-2 by host and tumor endothelium. Host blood vessels are not co-opted by tumor cells but rather are used as trails for tumor cell invasion of the host tissue. Our data further suggest that the established microvasculature of growing tumors is characterized by a continuous vascular remodeling, putatively mediated by the expression of VEGF and Ang-2. The results of this study suggest a new concept of vascular tumor initiation that may have important implications for the clinical application of antiangiogenic strategies.
Peter Vajkoczy, Mohammad Farhadi, Andreas Gaumann, Regina Heidenreich, Ralf Erber, Andreas Wunder, Jörg C. Tonn, Michael D. Menger, Georg Breier
We studied the role of protein kinase C isoform PKCδ in ceramide (Cer) formation, as well as in the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway induced by anticancer drugs in prostate cancer (PC) cells. Etoposide and paclitaxel induced Cer formation and apoptosis in PKCδ-positive LNCaP and DU145 cells but not in PKCδ-negative LN-TPA or PC-3 cells. In contrast, these drugs induced mitotic cell cycle arrest in all PC cell lines. Treatment with Rottlerin, a specific PKCδ inhibitor, significantly inhibited drug-induced Cer formation and apoptosis in LNCaP cells, as did overexpression of dominant negative–type PKCδ. Overexpression of wild-type PKCδ had an opposite effect in PC-3 cells. Notably, etoposide induced biphasic Cer formation in LNCaP cells. The early and transient Cer increase resulted from de novo Cer synthesis, while the late and sustained Cer accumulation was derived from sphingomyelin hydrolysis by neutral sphingomyelinase (nSMase). Cer, in turn, induced mitochondrial translocation of PKCδ and stimulated the activity of this kinase, promoting cytochrome c release and caspase-9 activation. Furthermore, the specific caspase-9 inhibitor LEHD-fmk significantly inhibited etoposide-induced nSMase activation, Cer accumulation, and PKCδ mitochondrial translocation. These results indicate that PKCδ plays a crucial role in activating anticancer drug–induced apoptosis signaling by amplifying the Cer-mediated mitochondrial amplification loop.
Makoto Sumitomo, Motoi Ohba, Junichi Asakuma, Takako Asano, Toshio Kuroki, Tomohiko Asano, Masamichi Hayakawa
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