Department of Cancer Biology
Animals; Arteries; Breast; Breast Neoplasms; Cadherins; Calcium; Carcinoma; Cell Adhesion; Cell Aggregation; Colonic Neoplasms; Epithelial Cells; Hemorheology; Humans; L Cells (Cell Line); Lymphatic System; Mice; Neoplasm Invasiveness; Neoplasm Proteins; *Neoplastic Cells, Circulating; *Rheology; *Stress, Mechanical; Transfection; Tumor Cells, Cultured; Veins
Defects in the expression or function of the calcium dependent cell-cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin are common in invasive, metastatic carcinomas. In the present study the response of aggregates of breast epithelial cells and breast and colon carcinoma cells to forces imposed by laminar flow in a parallel plate flow channel was examined. Although E-cadherin negative tumor cells formed cell aggregates in the presence of calcium, these were significantly more likely than E-cadherin positive cell aggregates to disaggregate in response to low shear forces, such as those found in a lymphatic vessel or venule (< 3.5 dyn/cm2). E-cadherin positive normal breast epithelial cells and E-cadherin positive breast tumor cell aggregates could not be disaggregated when exposed to shear forces in excess of those found in arteries (> 100 dyn/cm2). E-cadherin negative cancer cells which had been transfected with E-cadherin exhibited large increases in adhesion strength only if the expressed protein was appropriately linked to the cytoskeleton. These results show that E-cadherin negative tumor cells, or cells in which the adhesion molecule is present but is inefficiently linked to the cytoskeleton, are far more likely than E-cadherin positive cells to detach from a tumor mass in response to low shear forces, such as those found in a lymphatic vessel or venule. Since a primary route of dissemination of many carcinoma cells is to the local lymph nodes these results point to a novel mechanism whereby defects in cell-cell adhesion could lead to carcinoma cell dissemination.
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Citation: J Cell Sci. 1995 May;108 ( Pt 5):2053-64. Link to article on publisher's website