Hellmut Augustin: Vascular control of tumor progression and metastasis

Mittwoch 10. März 2021, 16:00 Uhr

Zoom-link, Nicht-Mitglieder des TRR 305 kontaktieren bitte: Stefanie.Pausch@remove-this.ukr.de

The molecular analysis of tumor vessel interactions during tumor progression and metastasis has primarily focused on the study of tumor cell-derived angiogenic and lymphangiogenic signals with the purpose to exploit such factors as therapeutic targets. Angiogenic factors activate endothelial cells in nearby blood and lymphatic capillaries to sprout towards the tumor. Tumor angiogenesis thereby not only nourishes the growing tumor, but access to the blood and lymphatic vasculatures enables cells from the primary tumor to enter the circulation to eventually form metastases at distant sites. The complex cellular interactions between tumor cells and endothelial cells have in this context mostly been studied from a tumor cell-centric perspective, i.e., the tumor cells send signals to which endothelial cells merely respond. Yet, the past decade has witnessed a fundamental change of paradigm with the discovery that the vascular endothelium does not just respond to exogenous cytokines, but exerts active ’angiocrine’ gatekeeper roles controlling their microenvironment in an instructive manner. We have applied the concepts of angiocrine signaling towards the study of tumor progression and metastasis. Employing novel surgical preclinical metastasis models that better mimic tumor progression and the response to therapy as it occurs in humans, we have molecularly dissected vascular and lymphatic endothelial cells in progressing primary tumors as well as in the pre-metastatic and metastatic niches. These experiments were on the one hand aimed at establishing the systems map of endothelial transcriptomic changes during tumor progression and metastasis and on the other hand to identify and validate novel therapeutic targets. This presentation will review recent advances in the field of tumor microenvironment research and present novel angiocrine signaling mechanisms as promising targets of future mechanism-driven anti-metastatic therapy.