Background: It remains unclear if the vascular and connective tissue structures of primary and metastatic tumors are intrinsically determined or whether these characteristics are defined by the host tissue. Therefore we examined the microanatomical steps of vasculature and connective tissue development of C38 colon carcinoma in different tissues. Methods: Tumors produced in mice at five different locations (the cecal wall, skin, liver, lung, and brain) were analyzed using fluorescent immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Results: We found that in the cecal wall, skin, liver, and lung, resident fibroblasts differentiate into collagenous matrix-producing myofibroblasts at the tumor periphery. These activated fibroblasts together with the produced matrix were incorporated by the tumor. The connective tissue development culminated in the appearance of intratumoral tissue columns (centrally located single microvessels embedded in connective tissue and smooth muscle actin-expressing myofibroblasts surrounded by basement membrane). Conversely, in the brain (which lacks fibroblasts), C38 metastases only induced the development of vascularized desmoplastic tissue columns when the growing tumor reached the fibroblast-containing meninges. Conclusions: Our data suggest that the desmoplastic host tissue response is induced by tumor-derived fibrogenic molecules acting on host tissue fibroblasts. We concluded that not only the host tissue characteristics but also the tumor-derived fibrogenic signals determine the vascular and connective tissue structure of tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research