An invasion-independent pathway has been proposed as a novel mechanism in blood-borne metastasis, where tumour cells enveloped by sinusoidal tumour vessels enter the circulation without vascular invasion. We previously identified the secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) as a candidate gene responsible for this pathway. In this study, the functional role of SLPI in metastatic dissemination was investigated. We transfected the SLPI gene into a poorly metastatic clone of the MCH66 mouse mammary tumour cell line. Over-expression of SLPI promoted in vivo growth and spontaneous metastasis to the lung, whereas it suppressed invasive activity in vitro. The inoculated tumours of SLPI-transfectants exclusively induced a sinusoidal vasculature and subsequently produced endothelial-coated tumour emboli, which are morphological indices of the invasion-independent pathway. In addition, exogenous SLPI inhibited the migration activity through Matrigel of both tumour cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (RUVECs). In vivo angiogenesis assays also demonstrated that SLPI suppressed the migration of newly formed blood vessels. These results suggest that an anti-migratory effect of SLPI on tumour-associated endothelial cells may induce vascular remodelling to form a sinusoidal architecture, and consequently promote invasion-independent metastasis. This study provides a new model for metastasis, based on the mechanism regulated by anti-invasive factors, such as SLPI.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine