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Tumor cell-platelet interactions in vitro and their relationship to in vivo arrest of hematogenously circulating tumor cells

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Abstract

Aggregation of rat platelets was induced in vitro by homologous rat Walker 256 carcinosarcoma cells and the extent of tumor cell-platelet interactions examined ultrastructurally. By 30s there was surface contact between unstimulated platelets and tumor cell microvilli. By midphase aggregation (2–3 min) tumor cells became enmeshed within expanding platelet aggregates. Tumor cell microvilli and platelet pseudopodia interdigitated as aggregation progressed. During the later stages of aggregation (6–10 min) tumor cells formed large processes which penetrated deep into the aggregate. Platelet activation (i.e. degranulation) occurred in gradient fashion and was concentrated near tumor cell membrane sites involved in process formation. At these later stages tumor cells near the aggregate periphery were found to have engulfed platelets or platelet fragments.

Tumor cell-platelet interactions in the pulmonary microvasculature were also studied in vivo following injection of murine Lewis lung carcinoma, 16C mammary adenocarcinoma, and B16 amelanotic melanoma tumor cells into the tail vein. Platelets demonstrated a biphasic association with arrested tumor cells with peak interactions occurring at 10–30 min and 4–24h. Ultrastructurally, tumor cells exhibited newly formed processes which interdigitated with the platelet aggregate. Such processes formed only in areas of contact with platelets and not in areas of contact with endothelial cells or other blood elements (i.e. erythrocytes, polymorphonuclear leukocytes). Numerous tumor cell mitochondria were concentrated in the areas of greatest platelet-tumor cell process activity. At early time intervals (2–10 min), intravascular platelet degranulation was observed primarily in platelets associated with tumor cell processes. Tumor cells also were found to have engulfed platelet fragments in vivo.

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Menter, D.G., Hatfield, J.S., Harkins, C. et al. Tumor cell-platelet interactions in vitro and their relationship to in vivo arrest of hematogenously circulating tumor cells. Clin Exp Metast 5, 65–78 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00116627

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00116627

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