During metastasis, malignant cells escape the primary tumor, intravasate lymphatic vessels, and reach draining sentinel lymph nodes before they colonize distant organs via the blood circulation. Although lymph node metastasis in cancer patients correlates with poor prognosis, evidence is lacking as to whether and how tumor cells enter the bloodstream via lymph nodes. To investigate this question, we delivered carcinoma cells into the lymph nodes of mice by microinfusing the cells into afferent lymphatic vessels. We found that tumor cells rapidly infiltrated the lymph node parenchyma, invaded blood vessels, and seeded lung metastases without involvement of the thoracic duct. These results suggest that the lymph node blood vessels can serve as an exit route for systemic dissemination of cancer cells in experimental mouse models. Whether this form of tumor cell spreading occurs in cancer patients remains to be determined.
M.B. was supported by the Cell Communication in Health and Disease graduate study program of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the Medical University of Vienna. M.S. was supported by the European Research Council (grant ERC GA 281556) and an FWF START award. We thank C. Moussion for establishing the intralymphatic injection at IST Austria and for providing anti-PNAd hybridoma supernatant, R. Förster and A. Braun for sharing the intralymphatic injection technology, K. Vaahtomeri for the lentiviral constructs, M. Hons for establishing in vivo multiphoton imaging, the Sixt lab for intellectual input, M. Schunn for help with the design of the in vivo experiments, F. Langer for technical assistance with the in vivo experiments, the bioimaging facility of IST Austria for support, and R. Efferl for providing the CT26 cell line.
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Brown M, Assen FP, Leithner AF, et al. Lymph node blood vessels provide exit routes for metastatic tumor cell dissemination in mice. Science. 2018;359(6382):1408-1411. doi:10.1126/science.aal3662
Brown, M., Assen, F. P., Leithner, A. F., Abe, J., Schachner, H., Asfour, G., … Kerjaschki, D. (2018). Lymph node blood vessels provide exit routes for metastatic tumor cell dissemination in mice. Science, 359(6382), 1408–1411. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aal3662
Brown, Markus, Frank P Assen, Alexander F Leithner, Jun Abe, Helga Schachner, Gabriele Asfour, Zsuzsanna Bagó Horváth, et al. “Lymph Node Blood Vessels Provide Exit Routes for Metastatic Tumor Cell Dissemination in Mice.” Science 359, no. 6382 (2018): 1408–11. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aal3662.
M. Brown et al., “Lymph node blood vessels provide exit routes for metastatic tumor cell dissemination in mice,” Science, vol. 359, no. 6382, pp. 1408–1411, 2018.
Brown M, Assen FP, Leithner AF, Abe J, Schachner H, Asfour G, Bagó Horváth Z, Stein J, Uhrin P, Sixt MK, Kerjaschki D. 2018. Lymph node blood vessels provide exit routes for metastatic tumor cell dissemination in mice. Science. 359(6382), 1408–1411.
Brown, Markus, et al. “Lymph Node Blood Vessels Provide Exit Routes for Metastatic Tumor Cell Dissemination in Mice.” Science, vol. 359, no. 6382, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2018, pp. 1408–11, doi:10.1126/science.aal3662.
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