Many cancers spread through lymphatic routes, and mechanistic insights of tumour intravasation into the lymphatic vasculature and targets for intervention are limited. The major emphasis of research focuses currently on the molecular biology of tumour cells, while still little is known regarding the contribution of lymphatics. Breast cancer cell spheroids attached to lymphendothelial cell (LEC) monolayers were used to investigate the process of intravasation by measuring the areas of 'circular chemorepellent-induced defects' (CCID), which can be considered as entry gates for bulky tumour intravasation. Aspects of tumour cell intravasation were furthermore studied by adhesion assay, and siRNA-mediated knockdown of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Replacing cancer spheroids with the CCID-triggering compound 12(S)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (HETE) facilitated western blot analyses of Bay11-7082- and baicalein-treated LECs. Binding of LECs to MCF-7 spheroids, which is a prerequisite for CCID formation, was mediated by ICAM-1 expression, and this depended on NF-κB and correlated with the expression of the prometastatic factor S100A4. Simultaneous inhibition of NF-κB with Bay11-7082 and of arachidonate lipoxygenase (ALOX)-15 with baicalein prevented CCID formation additively. Two mechanisms contribute to CCID formation: ALOX15 via the generation of 12(S)-HETE by MCF-7 cells, which induces directional migration of LECs, and ICAM-1 in LECs under control of NF-κB, which facilitates adhesion of MCF-7 cells to LECs.
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