Journal Article

MET expression in melanoma correlates with a lymphangiogenic phenotype

Alexander Swoboda, Oliver Schanab, Stefanie Tauber, Martin Bilban, Walter Berger, Peter Petzelbauer and Mario Mikula

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 21, issue 15, pages 3387-3396
Published in print August 2012 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
MET expression in melanoma correlates with a lymphangiogenic phenotype

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Melanomas contain high frequencies of tumorigenic cells and their tumorigenic capacity resides in several distinct subpopulations within melanoma. Since their metastatic potential is linked to their ability to recruit lymphatic vessels, we aimed at identifying lymphangiogenic subpopulations by comparative in vitro analysis of single cell clones derived from a melanoma of a single patient. Selected lymphangiogenic clones were then grafted into severe combined immunodeficient mice, where they induced lymphangiogenesis and metastasized into sentinel nodes, whereas non-lymphangiogenic clones from the same patient did not metastasize. Transcriptome analysis revealed high expression of vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) and platelet derived growth factor C (PDGF-C) as well as of the met proto-oncogene (MET) and its targets to be associated with this lymphangiogenic phenotype. Screening of a set of independently isolated melanoma cell lines from other patients confirmed this association between expression of high levels of MET and of VEGF-C and PDGF-C. Hence, we provide a model to screen for the lymphangiogenic potential of tumor cells. We show that the lymphangiogenic potential is heterogeneously distributed among melanoma cells within one given tumor and is associated with activation of MET signaling.

Journal Article.  5232 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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