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      Clinical Evidence that Coagulation Activation Drives Cancer Progression - a Report of 2 Cases

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          Background: Tissue factor (TF), the principal initiator of the extrinsic coagulation pathway, is expressed by many tumors and can be released into the bloodstream on plasma microparticles (MPs). Experimental studies indicate that TF may facilitate hematogenous metastasis by promoting tumor cell-induced microvascular thrombosis, but clinical data supporting this hypothesis is sparse. Case Reports: Here, we report 2 unusual cases of rapidly progressive solid malignancies (gastric and urothelial carcinoma). In both patients, cancer cell dissemination with diffuse bone marrow involvement was either strongly suggested by leukoerythroblastic changes on peripheral blood smear or directly proven by positive findings on aspiration cytology. Furthermore, laboratory evidence of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) and disseminated intravascular coagulation was accompanied by new-onset severe pulmonary hypertension and a hemolytic uremic syndrome-like disorder in the gastric and the urothelial carcinoma patient, respectively. TF-specific procoagulant activity of isolated plasma MPs, as assessed by single-stage clotting assay, was dramatically increased in both patients compared to healthy controls (21- and 55-fold), and primary tumor samples stained strongly positive for TF by immunohistochemistry. Conclusion: TMA was likely caused by TF-triggered tumor cell embolization in both patients. Further clinical evidence is thus provided that TF directly links coagulation activation to cancer cell dissemination.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Role of tissue factor in cancer.

          Tissue factor (TF) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that localizes the coagulation serine protease factor VII/VIIa (FVII/VIIa) to the cell surface. The primary function of TF is to activate the clotting cascade. The TF:FVIIa complex also activates cells by cleavage of a G-protein coupled receptor called protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2). TF is expressed by tumor cells and contributes to a variety of pathologic processes, such as thrombosis, metastasis, tumor growth, and tumor angiogenesis. For instance, tumor cells release TF-positive procoagulant microparticles into the circulation and these may trigger venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer. TF on circulating tumor cells also leads to the coating of the cells with fibrin that traps them within the microvasculature and facilitates hematogenous metastasis. In addition, TF:FVIIa-dependent activation of PAR2 on tumor cells increases tumor growth via an undefined mechanism. One possibility is that PAR2-dependent signaling increases the expression of proangiogenic proteins. Other studies have reported that endothelial cells in the tumor vasculature express TF and this may enhance angiogenesis. These results suggest that inhibition of TF should reduce several pathologic pathways that increase tumor growth and metastasis. This would represent a novel approach to anticancer therapy. Initial studies using inhibitors of the TF:FVIIa complex in mouse tumor models have produced encouraging results. Nevertheless, additional studies are needed to determine if this strategy can be successfully translated to the treatment of cancer patients.
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            Coagulation facilitates tumor cell spreading in the pulmonary vasculature during early metastatic colony formation.

            Coagulation has long been known to facilitate metastasis. To pinpoint the steps where coagulation might play a role in the metastasis, we used three-dimensional visualization of direct infusion of fluorescence labeled antibody to observe the interaction of tumor cells with platelets and fibrinogen in isolated lung preparations. Tumor cells arrested in the pulmonary vasculature were associated with a clot composed of both platelets and fibrin(ogen). Initially, the cells attached to the pulmonary vessels were rounded. Over the next 2 to 6 hours, they spread on the vessel surface. The associated clot was lysed coincident with tumor cell spreading. To assess the importance of clot formation, we inhibited coagulation with hirudin, a potent inhibitor of thrombin. The number of tumor cells initially arrested in the lung of hirudin-treated mice was essentially the same as in control mice. However, tumor cell spreading and subsequent retention of the tumor cells in the lung was markedly inhibited in the anticoagulated mice. These associations of the tumor cells with platelets were independent of tumor cell expression of P-selectin ligands. This work identifies tumor cell spreading onto the vascular surface as an important component of the metastatic cascade and implicates coagulation in this process.
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              Tumor cell-associated tissue factor and circulating hemostatic factors cooperate to increase metastatic potential through natural killer cell-dependent and-independent mechanisms.

              Tumor cell-associated tissue factor (TF) is a powerful determinant of metastatic potential. TF may increase metastasis by supporting thrombin-mediated proteolysis, through intracellular signaling events mediated by the TF cytoplasmic domain, through TF/fVIIa/fXa-mediated activation of protease-activated receptors, or through a combination of these processes. To better define the relationship between tumor cell-associated TF and circulating hemostatic factors in malignancy, we generated a set of C57Bl/6-derived tumor lines genetically lacking TF, expressing wild-type murine TF, or expressing a mutant TF lacking the cytoplasmic domain. Comparison of the metastatic potential of these cells in immunocompetent mice with genetic deficits in prothrombin, platelet function, or fibrinogen revealed that TF supports metastasis through mechanisms independent of the cytoplasmic domain, but dependent on each of these distal hemostatic factors. TF was neither required for primary tumor growth nor necessary for initial localization of embolized tumor cells within the lungs. Rather, tumor cell fate studies indicated TF supports metastasis by increasing the survival of micrometastases. One mechanism linking TF to metastasis is through a fibrin(ogen)-dependent and platelet-dependent restriction in natural killer cell-mediated clearance of micrometastases. However, TF also supported the early success of micrometastases through an additional mechanism independent of natural killer cells, but coupled to circulating prothrombin.

                Author and article information

                Oncol Res Treat
                Oncology Research and Treatment
                S. Karger AG
                September 2015
                01 July 2015
                : 38
                : 9
                : 449-452
                a II. Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Hubertus Wald Tumorzentrum - Universitäres Cancer Center Hamburg, Universitätsklinikum Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; b Praxis für Pathologie, Lübeck, Germany; c Zentrum für Innere Medizin und Intensivmedizin, Sana Kliniken Ostholstein, Eutin, Germany
                433501 Oncol Res Treat 2015;38:449-452
                © 2015 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg

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                Page count
                Figures: 2, References: 24, Pages: 4
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/433501
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