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The field of hereditary kidney cancer has begun to mature following the identification of several germline syndromes that define genetic and molecular features of this cancer. Molecular defects within these hereditary syndromes demonstrate consistent deficits in angiogenesis and metabolic signaling, largely driven by altered hypoxia signaling. The classical mutation, loss of function of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor, provides a human pathogenesis model for critical aspects of pseudohypoxia. These features are mimicked in a less common hereditary renal tumor syndrome, known as hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell carcinoma. Here, we review renal tumor angiogenesis and metabolism from a HIF-centric perspective, considering alterations in the hypoxic landscape, and molecular deviations resulting from high levels of HIF family members. Mutations underlying HIF deregulation drive multifactorial aberrations in angiogenic signals and metabolism. The mechanisms by which these defects drive tumor growth are still emerging. However, the distinctive patterns of angiogenesis and glycolysis-/glutamine-dependent bioenergetics provide insight into the cellular environment of these cancers. The result is a scenario permissive for aggressive tumorigenesis especially within the proximal renal tubule. These features of tumorigenesis have been highly actionable in kidney cancer treatments, and will likely continue as central tenets of kidney cancer therapeutics.
A defining hallmark of cancer and cancer development is upregulated angiogenesis. The vasculature formed in tumors is structurally abnormal, not organized in the conventional hierarchical arrangement, and more permeable than normal vasculature. These features contribute to leaky, tortuous, and dilated blood vessels, which act to create heterogeneous blood flow, compression of vessels, and elevated interstitial fluid pressure. As such, abnormalities in the tumor vasculature not only affect the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the tumor, but also contribute to creating an abnormal tumor microenvironment that further promotes tumorigenesis. The role of chemical signaling events in mediating tumor angiogenesis has been well researched; however, the relative contribution of physical cues and mechanical regulation of tumor angiogenesis is less understood. Growing research indicates that the physical microenvironment plays a significant role in tumor progression and promoting abnormal tumor vasculature. Here, we review how mechanical cues found in the tumor microenvironment promote aberrant tumor angiogenesis. Specifically, we discuss the influence of matrix stiffness and mechanical stresses in tumor tissue on tumor vasculature, as well as the mechanosensory pathways utilized by endothelial cells to respond to the physical cues found in the tumor microenvironment. We also discuss the impact of the resulting aberrant tumor vasculature on tumor progression and therapeutic treatment.
Pulmonary vascular disease is characterized by remodeling and loss of microvessels and is typically attributed to pathological responses in vascular endothelium or abnormal smooth muscle cell phenotypes. We have challenged this understanding by defining an adult pulmonary mesenchymal progenitor cell (MPC) that regulates both microvascular function and angiogenesis. The current understanding of adult MPCs and their roles in homeostasis versus disease has been limited by a lack of genetic markers with which to lineage label multipotent mesenchyme and trace the differentiation of these MPCs into vascular lineages. Here, we have shown that lineage-labeled lung MPCs expressing the ATP-binding cassette protein ABCG2 (ABCG2+) are pericyte progenitors that participate in microvascular homeostasis as well as adaptive angiogenesis. Activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, either autonomously or downstream of decreased BMP receptor signaling, enhanced ABCG2+ MPC proliferation but suppressed MPC differentiation into a functional pericyte lineage. Thus, enhanced Wnt/β-catenin signaling in ABCG2+ MPCs drives a phenotype of persistent microvascular dysfunction, abnormal angiogenesis, and subsequent exacerbation of bleomycin-induced fibrosis. ABCG2+ MPCs may, therefore, account in part for the aberrant microvessel function and remodeling that are associated with chronic lung diseases.
The skeleton is a common site for breast cancer metastasis. Although significant progress has been made to manage osteolytic bone lesions, the mechanisms driving the early steps of the bone metastatic process are still not sufficiently understood to design efficacious strategies needed to inhibit this process and offer preventative therapeutic options. Progression and recurrence of breast cancer, as well as reduced survival of patients with breast cancer, are associated with chronic stress, a condition known to stimulate sympathetic nerve outflow. In this study, we show that stimulation of the beta 2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) by isoproterenol, used as a pharmacological surrogate of sympathetic nerve activation, led to increased blood vessel density and Vegf-a expression in bone. It also raised levels of secreted Vegf-a in osteoblast cultures, and accordingly, the conditioned media from isoproterenol-treated osteoblast cultures promoted new vessel formation in two ex vivo models of angiogenesis. Blocking the interaction between Vegf-a and its receptor, Vegfr2, blunted the increase in vessel density induced by isoproterenol. Genetic loss of the β2AR globally, or specifically in type 1 collagen-expressing osteoblasts, diminished the increase in Vegf-positive osteoblast number and bone vessel density induced by isoproterenol, and reduced the higher incidence of bone metastatic lesions induced by isoproterenol after intracardiac injection of an osteotropic variant of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Inhibition of the interaction between Vegf-a and Vegfr2 with the blocking antibody mcr84 also prevented the increase in bone vascular density and bone metastasis triggered by isoproterenol. Together, these results indicate that stimulation of the β2AR in osteoblasts triggers a Vegf-dependent neo-angiogenic switch that promotes bone vascular density and the colonization of the bone microenvironment by metastatic breast cancer cells. © 2017 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
© 2017 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling is a known mediator of colorectal carcinogenesis. Studies have focused on the role of EGFR signaling in epithelial cells, although the exact nature of the role of EGFR in colorectal carcinogenesis remains a topic of debate. Here, we present evidence that EGFR signaling in myeloid cells, specifically macrophages, is critical for colon tumorigenesis in the azoxymethane-dextran sodium sulfate (AOM-DSS) model of colitis-associated carcinogenesis (CAC). In a human tissue microarray, colonic macrophages demonstrated robust EGFR activation in the pre-cancerous stages of colitis and dysplasia. Utilizing the AOM-DSS model, mice with a myeloid-specific deletion of Egfr had significantly decreased tumor multiplicity and burden, protection from high-grade dysplasia and significantly reduced colitis. Intriguingly, mice with gastrointestinal epithelial cell-specific Egfr deletion demonstrated no differences in tumorigenesis in the AOM-DSS model. The alterations in tumorigenesis in myeloid-specific Egfr knockout mice were accompanied by decreased macrophage, neutrophil and T-cell infiltration. Pro-tumorigenic M2 macrophage activation was diminished in myeloid-specific Egfr-deficient mice, as marked by decreased Arg1 and Il10 mRNA expression and decreased interleukin (IL)-4, IL10 and IL-13 protein levels. Surprisingly, diminished M1 macrophage activation was also detectable, as marked by significantly reduced Nos2 and Il1b mRNA levels and decreased interferon (IFN)-γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and IL-1β protein levels. The alterations in M1 and M2 macrophage activation were confirmed in bone marrow-derived macrophages from mice with the myeloid-specific Egfr knockout. The combined effect of restrained M1 and M2 macrophage activation resulted in decreased production of pro-angiogenic factors, CXCL1 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and reduced CD31 blood vessels, which likely contributed to protection from tumorigenesis. These data reveal that EGFR signaling in macrophages, but not in colonic epithelial cells, has a significant role in CAC. EGFR signaling in macrophages may prove to be an effective biomarker of CAC or target for chemoprevention in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Studies have shown that tumor angiogenesis is an essential process for tumor growth, proliferation and metastasis. Also, tumor angiogenesis is an important prognostic factor of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), as well as a factor in guiding treatment with antiangiogenic agents. Here, we attempted to find the associations between tumor angiogenesis and radiomic imaging features from PET/MRI. Specifically, sparse canonical correlation analysis was conducted on 3 feature datasets (i.e., radiomic imaging features, tumor microvascular density (MVD), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression) from 9 patients with primary ccRCC. In order to overcome the potential bias of intratumoral heterogeneity of angiogenesis, this study investigated the relationship between regional expressions of angiogenesis and VEGF, and localized radiomic features from different parts within the tumors. Our study highlighted the significant strong correlations between radiomic features and MVD, and also demonstrated that the spatiotemporal features extracted from DCE-MRI provided stronger radiomic correlation to MVD than the textural features extracted from Dixon sequences and FDG PET. Furthermore, PET/MRI, which takes advantage of the combined functional and structural information, had higher radiomics correlation to MVD than solely utilizing PET or MRI alone.
BACKGROUND - Renal cell cancer (RCC) is a prevalent and lethal disease. At time of diagnosis, most patients present with localized disease. For these patients, the standard of care includes nephrectomy with close monitoring thereafter. While many patients will be cured, 5-year recurrence rates range from 30% to 60%. Furthermore, nearly one-third of patients present with metastatic disease at time of diagnosis. Metastatic disease is rarely curable and typically lethal. Cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiation alone are incapable of controlling the disease. Extensive effort was expended in the development of cytokine therapies but response rates remain low. Newer agents targeting angiogenesis and mTOR signaling emerged in the 2000s and revolutionized patient care. While these agents improve progression free survival, the development of resistance is nearly universal. A new era of immunotherapy is now emerging, led by the checkpoint inhibitors. However, therapeutic resistance remains a complex issue that is likely to persist.
METHODS AND PURPOSE - In this review, we systematically evaluate preclinical research and clinical trials that address resistance to the primary RCC therapies, including anti-angiogenesis agents, mTOR inhibitors, and immunotherapies. As clear cell RCC is the most common adult kidney cancer and has been the focus of most studies, it will be the focus of this review.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Tumor microvasculature tends to be malformed, more permeable, and more tortuous than vessels in healthy tissue, effects that have been largely attributed to up-regulated VEGF expression. However, tumor tissue tends to stiffen during solid tumor progression, and tissue stiffness is known to alter cell behaviors including proliferation, migration, and cell-cell adhesion, which are all requisite for angiogenesis. Using in vitro, in vivo, and ex ovo models, we investigated the effects of matrix stiffness on vessel growth and integrity during angiogenesis. Our data indicate that angiogenic outgrowth, invasion, and neovessel branching increase with matrix cross-linking. These effects are caused by increased matrix stiffness independent of matrix density, because increased matrix density results in decreased angiogenesis. Notably, matrix stiffness up-regulates matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, and inhibiting MMPs significantly reduces angiogenic outgrowth in stiffer cross-linked gels. To investigate the functional significance of altered endothelial cell behavior in response to matrix stiffness, we measured endothelial cell barrier function on substrates mimicking the stiffness of healthy and tumor tissue. Our data indicate that barrier function is impaired and the localization of vascular endothelial cadherin is altered as function of matrix stiffness. These results demonstrate that matrix stiffness, separately from matrix density, can alter vascular growth and integrity, mimicking the changes that exist in tumor vasculature. These data suggest that therapeutically targeting tumor stiffness or the endothelial cell response to tumor stiffening may help restore vessel structure, minimize metastasis, and aid in drug delivery.
Ischemia-induced hypoxia elicits retinal neovascularization and is a major component of several blinding retinopathies such as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), diabetic retinopathy (DR) and retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Currently, noninvasive imaging techniques capable of detecting and monitoring retinal hypoxia in living systems do not exist. Such techniques would greatly clarify the role of hypoxia in experimental and human retinal neovascular pathogenesis. In this study, we developed and characterized HYPOX-4, a fluorescence-imaging probe capable of detecting retinal-hypoxia in living animals. HYPOX-4 dependent in vivo and ex vivo imaging of hypoxia was tested in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). Predicted patterns of retinal hypoxia were imaged by HYPOX-4 dependent fluorescence activity in this animal model. In retinal cells and mouse retinal tissue, pimonidazole-adduct immunostaining confirmed the hypoxia selectivity of HYPOX-4. HYPOX-4 had no effect on retinal cell proliferation as indicated by BrdU assay and exhibited no acute toxicity in retinal tissue as indicated by TUNEL assay and electroretinography (ERG) analysis. Therefore, HYPOX-4 could potentially serve as the basis for in vivo fluorescence-based hypoxia-imaging techniques, providing a tool for investigators to understand the pathogenesis of ischemic retinopathies and for physicians to address unmet clinical needs.
The growing need for therapies to treat large cutaneous defects has driven recent interest in the design of scaffolds that stimulate regenerative wound healing. While many studies have investigated local delivery of biologics as a restorative approach, an increasing body of evidence highlights the contribution of the mechanical properties of implanted scaffolds to wound healing. In the present study, we designed poly(ester urethane) scaffolds using a templated-Fused Deposition Modeling (t-FDM) process to test the hypothesis that scaffolds with substrate modulus comparable to that of collagen fibers enhance a regenerative versus a fibrotic response. We fabricated t-FDM scaffolds with substrate moduli varying from 5 to 266 MPa to investigate the effects of substrate modulus on healing in a rat subcutaneous implant model. Angiogenesis, cellular infiltration, collagen deposition, and directional variance of collagen fibers were maximized for wounds treated with scaffolds having a substrate modulus (Ks = 24 MPa) comparable to that of collagen fibers. The enhanced regenerative response in these scaffolds was correlated with down-regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in fibroblasts, as well as increased polarization of macrophages toward the restorative M2 phenotype. These observations highlight the substrate modulus of the scaffold as a key parameter regulating the regenerative versus scarring phenotype in wound healing. Our findings further point to the potential use of scaffolds with substrate moduli tuned to that of the native matrix as a therapeutic approach to improve cutaneous healing.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.