The vascular architecture of human xenotransplanted tumors: histological, morphometrical, and ultrastructural studies

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Summary

This study was designed to examine the vascular system of human xenotransplanted tumors on nude mice with different complementary morphometrical and morphological methods. The vascular system shows a chaotic arrangement. There is an extreme heterogeneity in the vascular distribution and density. Large avascular regions could be identified in several non-necrotic tumors. There was no clear difference in the vascular density between the center and the periphery of the tumors, nor was there any zonal correlation for the distribution of the necrosis. With three-dimensional corrosion casts it could be demonstrated that clusters of vessels were directly beneath areas almost free of vessels. In the center, vessels often form a sinusoidal system with numerous blind ends without clearly discernible endothelial cells. Numerous irregular tumor-cell-lined sinusoids are visible next to endothelial-lined vessels with transmission electron microscopy. With scanning electron microscopy it could be demonstrated that large-calibre endotheliazed vessels were found in the direct vicinity or in the center of non-viable zones. Even large-calibre vessels have a capillary wall structure. Sometimes, a basement membrane cannot be observed at all or only incompletely. There are numerous indications of vascular discontinuities and leaks with a widespread intercellular occurrence of blood cells.