Blood vessel tumors require macrophages, a type of white blood cells, to develop. In studying these cells' role in tumor development, Ohio State University medical researchers determined that a protein called MCP-1 "recruits" macrophages to the vascular tumor site.
This means that therapies to eliminate the MCP-1 protein could be a key to healing or preventing the tumors and possibly others in which MCP-1 is expressed.
The results are published in the October issue of the American Journal of Physiology (Cell).
Blood vessel tumors affect up to 3 percent of all children, typically resulting in a prominent red mass on the head and neck. Up to one in four patients with hemangioendotheliomas, or HEs, the type of tumor used in these studies, die of anemia associated with the tumors.
The findings present the first evidence that MCP-1 and macrophages are needed for these tumors to grow, and the first evidence that anti-MCP-1 therapy prevents vascular tumor development in animals with intact immune systems, said Gayle Gordillo, lead author of the study, assistant professor of plastic surgery and an investigator in the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute at Ohio State University Medical Center.
When MCP-1 recruits macrophages to the tumor site, it stimulates new blood vessel development, or angiogenesis, in endothelial cells that make up the lining of blood vessels. That proliferation can cause the tumors to grow because new vessels develop and allow blood to collect in the lesion. Gordillo, in partnership with Heart and Lung Research Institute investigators Chandan Sen and Sashwati Roy, determined MCP-1's role in recruiting macrophages by
Contact: Emily Caldwell
Ohio State University