Neuroblastoma cells injected into experimental mature teratoma reveal a tropism for embryonic loose mesenchyme

Jamil, S.; Cedervall, J.; Hultman, I.; Ali, R.; Margaryan, N. V.; Rasmuson, A.; Johnsen, J. I.; Sveinbjornsson, B.; Dalianis, T.; Kanter, L.; Orrego, A.; Strizzi, L.; Hendrix, M. J.; Sandstedt, B.; Kogner, P.; Ahrlund-Richter, L.

Int J Oncol. 2013 Jul 17; 43(3):831-8


Embryonic neural tumors are responsible for a disproportionate number of cancer deaths in children. Although dramatic improvements in survival for pediatric malignancy has been achieved in previous years advancements seem to be slowing down. For the development of new enhanced therapy and an increased understanding of the disease, pre-clinical models better capturing the neoplastic niche are essential. Tumors of early childhood present in this respect a particular challenge. Here, we explore how components of the embryonic process in stemcell induced mature teratoma can function as an experimental in vivo microenvironment instigating the growth of injected childhood neuroblastoma (NB) cell lines. Three human NB cell lines, IMR-32, Kelly and SK-N-BE(2), were injected into mature pluripotent stem cellinduced teratoma (PSCT) and compared to xenografts of the same cell lines. Proliferative NB cells from all lines were readily detected in both models with a typical histology of a poorly differentiated NB tumor with a variable amount of fibrovascular stroma. Uniquely in the PSCT microenvironment, NB cells were found integrated in a nonrandom fashion. Neuroblastoma cells were never observed in areas with well-differentiated somatic tissue i.e. bone, muscle, gut or areas of other easily identifiable tissue types. Instead, the three cell lines all showed initial growth exclusively occurring in the embryonic loose mesenchymal stroma, resulting in a histology recapitulating NB native presentation in vivo. Whether this reflects the 'open' nature of loose mesenchyme more easily giving space to new cells compared to other more dense tissues, the rigidity of matrix providing physical cues modulating NB characteristics, or if embryonic loose mesenchyme may supply developmental cues that attracted or promoted the integration of NB, remains to be tested. We tentatively hypothesize that mature PSCT provide an embryonic niche well suited for in vivo studies on NB.

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