Tumor angiogenesis is caused by single melanoma cells in a manner dependent on reactive oxygen species and NF-κB
Authors: Schaafhausen MK, Yang WJ, Centanin L, Wittbrodt J, Bosserhoff A, Fischer A, Schartl M, Meierjohann S
CellNetworks People: Wittbrodt Joachim
Journal: J Cell Sci. 2013 Sep 1;126(Pt 17):3862-72. doi: 10.1242/jcs.125021. Epub 2013 Jul 10

Melanomas have a high angiogenic potential, but respond poorly to medical treatment and metastasize very early. To understand the early events in tumor angiogenesis, animal models with high tumor resolution and blood vessel resolution are required, which provide the opportunity to test the ability of small molecule inhibitors to modulate the angiogenic tumor program. We have established a transgenic melanoma angiogenesis model in the small laboratory fish species Japanese medaka. Here, pigment cells are transformed by an oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinase in fish expressing GFP throughout their vasculature. We show that angiogenesis occurs in a reactive oxygen species (ROS)- and NF-κB-dependent, but hypoxia-independent manner. Intriguingly, we observed that blood vessel sprouting is induced even by single transformed pigment cells. The oncogenic receptor as well as human melanoma cells harboring other oncogenes caused the production of pro-angiogenic factors, most prominently angiogenin, through NF-κB signaling. Inhibiting NF-κB prevented tumor angiogenesis and led to the regression of existing tumor blood vessels. In conclusion, our high-resolution medaka melanoma model discloses that ROS and NF-κB signaling from single tumor cells causes hypoxia-independent angiogenesis, thus, demonstrating that the intrinsic malignant tumor cell features are sufficient to initiate and maintain a pro-angiogenic signaling threshold.