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1.  LFA-1 and ICAM-1 expression induced during melanoma-endothelial cell co-culture favors the transendothelial migration of melanoma cell lines in vitro 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:455.
Patients with metastatic melanoma have a poor median rate of survival. It is therefore necessary to increase our knowledge about melanoma cell dissemination which includes extravasation, where cancer cells cross the endothelial barrier. Extravasation is well understood during travelling of white blood cells, and involves integrins such as LFA-1 (composed of two chains, CD11a and CD18) expressed by T cells, while ICAM-1 is induced during inflammation by endothelial cells. Although melanoma cell lines cross endothelial cell barriers, they do not express LFA-1. We therefore hypothesized that melanoma-endothelial cell co-culture might induce the LFA-1/ICAM ligand/receptor couple during melanoma transmigration.
A transwell approach has been used as well as blocking antibodies against CD11a, CD18 and ICAM-1. Data were analyzed with an epifluorescence microscope. Fluorescence intensity was quantified with the ImageJ software.
We show here that HUVEC-conditioned medium induce cell-surface expression of LFA-1 on melanoma cell lines. Similarly melanoma-conditioned medium activates ICAM-1 expression in endothelial cells. Accordingly blocking antibodies of ICAM-1, CD11a or CD18 strongly decrease melanoma transmigration. We therefore demonstrate that melanoma cells can cross endothelial monolayers in vitro due to the induction of ICAM-1 and LFA-1 occurring during the co-culture of melanoma and endothelial cells. Our data further suggest a role of LFA-1 and ICAM-1 in the formation of melanoma cell clumps enhancing tumor cell transmigration.
Melanoma-endothelial cell co-culture induces LFA-1 and ICAM-1 expression, thereby favoring in vitro melanoma trans-migration.
PMCID: PMC3495854  PMID: 23039186
Melanoma; Transendothelial migration; Metastasis; LFA-1; ICAM-1; HUVEC
2.  Melanoma Spheroids Grown Under Neural Crest Cell Conditions Are Highly Plastic Migratory/Invasive Tumor Cells Endowed with Immunomodulator Function 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18784.
The aggressiveness of melanoma tumors is likely to rely on their well-recognized heterogeneity and plasticity. Melanoma comprises multi-subpopulations of cancer cells some of which may possess stem cell-like properties. Although useful, the sphere-formation assay to identify stem cell-like or tumor initiating cell subpopulations in melanoma has been challenged, and it is unclear if this model can predict a functional phenotype associated with aggressive tumor cells.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We analyzed the molecular and functional phenotypes of melanoma spheroids formed in neural crest cell medium. Whether from metastatic or advanced primary tumors, spheroid cells expressed melanoma-associated markers. They displayed higher capacity to differentiate along mesenchymal lineages and enhanced expression of SOX2, NANOG, KLF4, and/or OCT4 transcription factors, but not enhanced self-renewal or tumorigenicity when compared to their adherent counterparts. Gene expression profiling attributed a neural crest cell signature to these spheroids and indicated that a migratory/invasive and immune-function modulating program could be associated with these cells. In vitro assays confirmed that spheroids display enhanced migratory/invasive capacities. In immune activation assays, spheroid cells elicited a poorer allogenic response from immune cells and inhibited mitogen-dependent T cells activation and proliferation more efficiently than their adherent counterparts. Our findings reveal a novel immune-modulator function of melanoma spheroids and suggest specific roles for spheroids in invasion and in evasion of antitumor immunity.
The association of a more plastic, invasive and evasive, thus a more aggressive tumor phenotype with melanoma spheroids reveals a previously unrecognized aspect of tumor cells expanded as spheroid cultures. While of limited efficiency for melanoma initiating cell identification, our melanoma spheroid model predicted aggressive phenotype and suggested that aggressiveness and heterogeneity of melanoma tumors can be supported by subpopulations other than cancer stem cells. Therefore, it could be constructive to investigate melanoma aggressiveness, relevant to patients and clinical transferability.
PMCID: PMC3078142  PMID: 21526207

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