Genetically deregulated tumor cells generate vascular channels by vasculogenic mimicry (VM) that is independent of endothelial blood vessels. The morphological characteristics of VM and the role of EphA2 in the formation of VM were evaluated in 144 clinical samples of gastric adenocarcinoma and AGS gastric cancer cell line. It has long been believed that VM consists of PAS-positive basement membrane and CD31/CD34-negative cells. Interestingly, we found that the luminal surface of gastric tumor cells that form VM channels showed PAS-positive reaction, and that the involvement of CD31/CD34-positive tumor cells in the formation of VM channels. Highly aggressive tumor cells that formed VM were found to express CD31 or CD34, implicating the angiogenic and vasculogenic potential of the genetically deregulated tumor cells. VM occurrence was positively correlated with high expression of EphA2 in our patient cohort, and the indispensable role of EphA2 in VM formation was identified by gene silencing in AGS cells. We also report that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive tumor cells were involved in the formation of VM channels in EBV-associated gastric cancer samples. Overall, our results suggest that EphA2 signaling promotes tumor metastasis by inducing VM formation during gastric tumorigenesis.
Research. Development. Production.
We are a leading supplier to the global Life Science industry with solutions and services for research, biotechnology development and production, and pharmaceutical drug therapy development and production.