Vascular phenotype in angiogenic and non-angiogenic lung non-small cell carcinomas.
Passalidou E., Trivella M., Singh N., Ferguson M., Hu J., Cesario A., Granone P., Nicholson AG., Goldstraw P., Ratcliffe C., Tetlow M., Leigh I., Harris AL., Gatter KC., Pezzella F.
We have previously described a group of non-small cell lung carcinomas without morphological evidence of neo-angiogenesis. In these tumours neoplastic cells fill up the alveoli and the only vessels present appear to belong to the trapped alveolar septa. In the present study we have characterised the phenotype of the vessels present in these non-angiogenic tumours, in normal lung and in angiogenic non-small cell lung carcinomas. The vessels, identified by the expression of CD31, were scored as mature when expressing the epitope LH39 in the basal membrane and as newly formed when expressing alphaVbeta3 on the endothelial cells and/or lacking LH39 expression. In the nine putative non-angiogenic cases examined, the vascular phenotype of all the vessels was the same as that of alveolar vessels in normal lung: LH39 positive and alphaVbeta3 variable or negative. Instead in 104 angiogenic tumours examined, only a minority of vessels (mean 13.1%; range 0--60%) expressed LH39, while alphaVbeta3 (in 45 cases) was strongly expressed on many vessels (mean 55.5%; range 5--90%). We conclude that in putative non-angiogenic tumours the vascular phenotype is that of normal vessels and there is no neo-angiogenesis. This type of cancer may be resistant to some anti-angiogenic therapy and different strategies need to be developed.