Ohio State University researchers found that tumor blood vessels can develop from precancerous stem cells. The investigators used mouse precancerous stem cells grown in the laboratory and transplanted into immune-deficient mice. The researchers removed the resulting tumors and tested for various molecular markers.
They observed that the tumor blood vessels were largely derived from precancerous stem cells. “The tumor blood-vessel cells were abnormal and highly variable in appearance compared with normal cells,” says principal investigator Jian-Xin Gao, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology.
The precancerous stem cells also produced similar levels of substances that stimulate blood-vessel growth but they were much more potent in forming new blood vessels and larger tumor masses compared with tumors grown from typical tumor cells.
The researchers examined new blood-vessel formation in human tumors transplanted into mice and observed changes similar to those previously seen in the mouse tumors. They also examined the appearance of blood vessels in human cervical and breast tumors and observed that the blood-vessel cells displayed similar abnormalities and aberrant patterns of molecular markers.
The paper will be published in the February 20 issue of PLoS ONE.