Background: Metastasis via the lymphatic system is promoted by lymphangiogenesis. Alterations of the lymphatic channels during the progression of metastasis to regional lymph nodes (LNs) remain unexplored. To examine whether tumor-induced LN lymphangiogenesis controls metastasis to regional LNs, we investigated cervical LN metastasis in a mouse model of oral melanoma. Methods. Injection of B16F10 melanoma cells into mouse tongues replicated spontaneous cervical LN metastasis. We performed histological, immunofluorescent, and histomorphometric analyses of tumor-reactive lymphadenopathy and lymphangiogenesis in tumor-associated LNs. We investigated the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C and its receptor, VEGF receptor-3 (VEGFR-3), in tumor cells and tissues, and LNs by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence. Results: Tumor-associated LNs comprised sentinel LNs (SLNs) before and after tumor cell invasion (tumor-bearing SLNs), and LNs adjacent or contralateral to tumor-bearing SLNs. Extensive lymphangiogenesis appeared in SLNs before evidence of metastasis. After metastasis was established in SLNs, both LNs adjacent and contralateral to tumor-bearing SLNs demonstrated lymphangiogenesis. Interaction between VEGF-C-positive melanoma cells and VEGFR-3-positive lymphatic vessels was evident in tumor-associated LNs. Conclusions: LN lymphangiogenesis contributes a progression of tumor metastasis from SLNs to other regional LNs. © 2012 Ozasa et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Ozasa, R., Ohno, J., Iwahashi, T., & Taniguchi, K. (2012). Tumor-induced lymphangiogenesis in cervical lymph nodes in oral melanoma-bearing mice. Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research, 31(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-9966-31-83