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      Investigation of the essential role of platelet-tumor cell interactions in metastasis progression using an agent-based model

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          Abstract

          Background

          Metastatic tumors are a major source of morbidity and mortality for most cancers. Interaction of circulating tumor cells with endothelium, platelets and neutrophils play an important role in the early stages of metastasis formation. These complex dynamics have proven difficult to study in experimental models. Prior computational models of metastases have focused on tumor cell growth in a host environment, or prediction of metastasis formation from clinical data. We used agent-based modeling (ABM) to dynamically represent hypotheses of essential steps involved in circulating tumor cell adhesion and interaction with other circulating cells, examine their functional constraints, and predict effects of inhibiting specific mechanisms.

          Methods

          We developed an ABM of Early Metastasis (ABMEM), a descriptive semi-mechanistic model that replicates experimentally observed behaviors of populations of circulating tumor cells, neutrophils, platelets and endothelial cells while incorporating representations of known surface receptor, autocrine and paracrine interactions. Essential downstream cellular processes were incorporated to simulate activation in response to stimuli, and calibrated with experimental data. The ABMEM was used to identify potential points of interdiction through examination of dynamic outcomes such as rate of tumor cell binding after inhibition of specific platelet or tumor receptors.

          Results

          The ABMEM reproduced experimental data concerning neutrophil rolling over endothelial cells, inflammation-induced binding between neutrophils and platelets, and tumor cell interactions with these cells. Simulated platelet inhibition with anti-platelet drugs produced unstable aggregates with frequent detachment and re-binding. The ABMEM replicates findings from experimental models of circulating tumor cell adhesion, and suggests platelets play a critical role in this pre-requisite for metastasis formation. Similar effects were observed with inhibition of tumor integrin αV/β3. These findings suggest that anti-platelet or anti-integrin therapies may decrease metastasis by preventing stable circulating tumor cell adhesion.

          Conclusion

          Circulating tumor cell adhesion is a complex, dynamic process involving multiple cell-cell interactions. The ABMEM successfully captures the essential interactions necessary for this process, and allows for in-silico iterative characterization and invalidation of proposed hypotheses regarding this process in conjunction with in-vitro and in-vivo models. Our results suggest that anti-platelet therapies and anti-integrin therapies may play a promising role in inhibiting metastasis formation.

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          Most cited references 114

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          Tumor cells circulate in the peripheral blood of all major carcinomas but not in healthy subjects or patients with nonmalignant diseases.

          The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy, precision, and linearity of the CellSearch system and evaluate the number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) per 7.5 mL of blood in healthy subjects, patients with nonmalignant diseases, and patients with a variety of metastatic carcinomas. The CellSearch system was used to enumerate CTCs in 7.5 mL of blood. Blood samples spiked with cells from tumor cell lines were used to establish analytical accuracy, reproducibility, and linearity. Prevalence of CTCs was determined in blood from 199 patients with nonmalignant diseases, 964 patients with metastatic carcinomas, and 145 healthy donors. Enumeration of spiked tumor cells was linear over the range of 5 to 1,142 cells, with an average recovery of >/=85% at each spike level. Only 1 of the 344 (0.3%) healthy and nonmalignant disease subjects had >/=2 CTCs per 7.5 mL of blood. In 2,183 blood samples from 964 metastatic carcinoma patients, CTCs ranged from 0 to 23,618 CTCs per 7.5 mL (mean, 60 +/- 693 CTCs per 7.5 mL), and 36% (781 of 2,183) of the specimens had >/=2 CTCs. Detection of >/=2 CTCs occurred at the following rates: 57% (107 of 188) of prostate cancers, 37% (489 of 1,316) of breast cancers, 37% (20 of 53) of ovarian cancers, 30% (99 of 333) of colorectal cancers, 20% (34 of 168) of lung cancers, and 26% (32 of 125) of other cancers. The CellSearch system can be standardized across multiple laboratories and may be used to determine the clinical utility of CTCs. CTCs are extremely rare in healthy subjects and patients with nonmalignant diseases but present in various metastatic carcinomas with a wide range of frequencies.
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            AACR centennial series: the biology of cancer metastasis: historical perspective.

            Metastasis resistant to therapy is the major cause of death from cancer. Despite almost 200 years of study, the process of tumor metastasis remains controversial. Stephen Paget initially identified the role of host-tumor interactions on the basis of a review of autopsy records. His "seed and soil" hypothesis was substantiated a century later with experimental studies, and numerous reports have confirmed these seminal observations. An improved understanding of the metastatic process and the attributes of the cells selected by this process is critical for the treatment of patients with systemic disease. In many patients, metastasis has occurred by the time of diagnosis, so metastasis prevention may not be relevant. Treating systemic disease and identifying patients with early disease should be our goal. Revitalized research in the past three decades has focused on new discoveries in the biology of metastasis. Even though our understanding of molecular events that regulate metastasis has improved, the contributions and timing of molecular lesion(s) involved in metastasis pathogenesis remain unclear. Review of the history of pioneering observations and discussion of current controversies should increase understanding of the complex and multifactorial interactions between the host and selected tumor cells that contribute to fatal metastasis and should lead to the design of successful therapy. (c)2010 AACR.
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              Nitric oxide: an endogenous modulator of leukocyte adhesion.

              The objective of this study was to determine whether endogenous nitric oxide (NO) inhibits leukocyte adhesion to vascular endothelium. This was accomplished by superfusing a cat mesenteric preparation with inhibitors of NO production, NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) or NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), and observing single (30-microns diameter) venules by intravital video microscopy. Thirty minutes into the superfusion period the number of adherent and emigrated leukocytes, the erythrocyte velocity, and the venular diameter were measured; venular blood flow and shear rate were calculated from the measured parameters. The contribution of the leukocyte adhesion glycoprotein CD11/CD18 was determined using the CD18-specific monoclonal antibody IB4. Both inhibitors of NO production increased leukocyte adherence more than 15-fold. Leukocyte emigration was also enhanced, whereas venular shear rate was reduced by nearly half. Antibody IB4 abolished the leukocyte adhesion induced by L-NMMA and L-NAME. Incubation of isolated cat neutrophils with L-NMMA, but not L-NAME, resulted in direct upregulation of CD11/CD18 as assessed by flow cytometry. Decrements in venular shear rate induced by partial occlusion of the superior mesenteric artery in untreated animals revealed that only a minor component of L-NAME-induced leukocyte adhesion was shear rate-dependent. The L-NAME-induced adhesion was inhibited by L-arginine but not D-arginine. These data suggest that endothelium-derived NO may be an important endogenous modulator of leukocyte adherence and that impairment of NO production results in a pattern of leukocyte adhesion and emigration that is characteristic of acute inflammation.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Theor Biol Med Model
                Theor Biol Med Model
                Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling
                BioMed Central
                1742-4682
                2014
                12 April 2014
                : 11
                : 17
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Surgery, University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 5029, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
                [2 ]Department of Surgery, Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU, 315 W Carpenter, Springfield, IL 62702, USA
                [3 ]Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Chicago Medicine, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 9006, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
                [4 ]Department of Surgery, The University of Chicago Medicine, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 5094 S-032, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
                Article
                1742-4682-11-17
                10.1186/1742-4682-11-17
                4022382
                24725600
                Copyright © 2014 Uppal et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Categories
                Research

                Quantitative & Systems biology

                metastasis, agent-based modeling, computational modeling

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