The functional role of pericytes in cancer progression remains unknown. Clinical studies suggest that low numbers of vessel-associated pericytes correlated with a drop in overall survival of patients with invasive breast cancer. Using genetic mouse models or pharmacological inhibitors, pericyte depletion suppressed tumor growth but enhanced metastasis. Pericyte depletion was further associated with increased hypoxia, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and Met receptor activation. Silencing of Twist or use of a Met inhibitor suppressed hypoxia and EMT/Met-driven metastasis. In addition, poor pericyte coverage coupled with high Met expression in cancer cells speculates the worst prognosis for patients with invasive breast cancer. Collectively, our study suggests that pericytes within the primary tumor microenvironment likely serve as important gatekeepers against cancer progression and metastasis.
Pubmed ID: 22264789 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Animals | Antineoplastic Agents | Benzamides | Benzenesulfonates | Breast Neoplasms | Cell Hypoxia | Cell Line, Tumor | Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition | Female | Humans | Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit | Imatinib Mesylate | Indoles | Mice | Mice, Inbred BALB C | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Mice, Transgenic | Neoplasm Metastasis | Niacinamide | Pericytes | Phenylurea Compounds | Piperazines | Piperidines | Protein Kinase Inhibitors | Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met | Pyrazoles | Pyridines | Pyrimidines | Pyrroles | Signal Transduction | Tumor Cells, Cultured
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