Stem-like tumor cells involved in heterogeneous vasculogenesis in breast cancer
Sorafenib, a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor with antiangiogenic activity, has been used in liver cancer and kidney cancer treatment. However, clinical trials with sorafenib for breast cancer were stopped in phase Ⅲ due to limited efficacy. The existence of heterogeneous vasculatures involving tumor cells, such as vessel-like structures formed by vasculogenic mimicry and mosaic vessels, and their resistance to antiangiogenic therapy are thought to be a possible reason for failure of
... n for failure of sorafenib therapy. Nevertheless, the features and mechanism of vasculogenesis by tumor cells remain unclear. In the present study, we found that breast cancer stem-like cells (BCSLCs, ALDH1+ cells) were involved in vasculogenic mimicry and mosaic vessel formation in triple-negative breast cancer tissues. Further, only ALDH1+ BCSLCs sorted from MDA-MB-231 could exhibit the tube formation and angiogenesis ability. Sorafenib could inhibit vascularization from endothelial cells rather than that from ALDH1+ cells. α-SMA was identified as a key molecule in vascular formation of BCSLCs. Mechanistically, HIF-1α enhanced the mRNA and protein levels of α-SMA by binding to the HRE element in the promoter directly and meanwhile increased the BCSLCs population. Interestingly, pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), an endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor, could inhibit both endothelial cell-derived and tumor cell-derived angiogenesis by down-regulating HIF-1α in breast cancer. Our finding clarified the possible reason for the poor outcome of anti-angiogenesis therapy and PEDF may have the therapeutic potential.