Author(s): Amirkhosravi A, Amaya M, Siddiqui F, Biggerstaff JP, Meyer TV,
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Abstract Evidence that platelets play a role in tumor metastasis includes the observation of circulating tumor cell-platelet aggregates and the anti-metastatic effect of thrombocytopenia and anti-platelet drugs. Platelets have recently been shown to contain vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) which is released during clotting. We therefore studied the effects of (1) tumor cell-platelet adherence and tumor cell TF activity on platelet VEGF release; and (2) the effects of GpIIb/IIIa blockade on tumor cell-induced platelet VEGF release, tumor cell-induced thrombocytopenia and experimental metastasis. Adherent A375 human melanoma cells (TF+) and KG1 myeloid leukemia (TF-) cells were cultured in RPMI containing 10\% fetal bovine serum. Platelet-rich plasma was obtained from normal citrated whole blood and the presence of VEGF (34 and 44 kDa isoforms) confirmed by immunoblotting. Platelet-rich plasma with or without anti-GpIIb/IIIa (Abciximab) was added to A375 monolayers and supernatant VEGF measured by ELISA. Tumor cell-induced platelet activation and release were determined by CD62P expression and serotonin release respectively. In vitro, tumor cell-platelet adherence was evaluated by flow cytometry. In vivo, thrombocytopenia and lung seeding were assessed 30 min and 18 days, respectively, after i.v. injection of Lewis Lung carcinoma (LL2) cells into control or murine 7E3 F(ab')(2) (6 mg/ kg) athymic rats. Maximal in vitro platelet activation (72\% serotonin release) occurred 30 min after adding platelets to tumor cells. At this time, 87\% of the A375 cells had adhered to platelets. Abciximab significantly (P<0.05) reduced platelet adherence to tumor cells as evidenced by flow cytometry. Incubation of A375 cells with platelets induced VEGF release in a time-dependent manner. This release was significantly inhibited by Abciximab (81\% at 30 min; P<0.05). In the presence of fibrinogen and FII, VEGF release induced by A375 (TF+) cells was significantly higher than that induced by KG1 (TF-) cells (105.5+/-24 vs. 42+/-7 pg/ml; P<0.001). Omitting fibrinogen or FII from the reaction mixture markedly decreased VEGF release. In vivo, GpIIb/IIIa blockade with murine 7E3 F(ab')(2) reduced LL2 tumor cell-induced thrombocytopenia by 90\% (P<0.001) and lung seeding by 82\% (P<0.05). We conclude that TF-bearing tumor cells can activate platelets largely via thrombin generation, and that such activation is associated with release of VEGF. This may enhance metastasis, possibly by increasing extravasation at points of adhesion to vascular endothelium.
This article was published in Platelets
and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry