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Mesothelial cells interact with tumor cells for the formation of ovarian cancer multicellular spheroids in peritoneal effusions

Mesothelial cells interact with tumor cells for the formation of ovarian cancer multicellular spheroids in peritoneal effusions

Clinical & Experimental Metastasis 33(8): 839-852

Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) dissemination is primarily mediated by the shedding of tumor cells from the primary site into ascites where they form multicellular spheroids that rapidly lead to peritoneal carcinomatosis. While the clinical importance and fundamental role of multicellular spheroids in EOC is increasingly appreciated, the mechanisms that regulate their formation and dictate their cellular composition remain poorly characterized. To investigate these important questions, we characterized spheroids isolated from ascites of women with EOC. We found that in these spheroids, a core of mesothelial cells was encased in a shell of tumor cells. Analysis further revealed that EOC spheroids are dynamic structures of proliferating, non-proliferating and hypoxic regions. To recapitulate these in vivo findings, we developed a three-dimensional co-culture model of primary EOC and mesothelial cells. Our analysis indicated that, compared to the OVCAR3 cell line, primary EOC cells isolated from ascites as well as mesothelial cells formed compact spheroids. Analysis of heterotypic spheroid microarchitecture revealed a structure that grossly resembles the structure of spheroids isolated from ascites. Cells that formed compact spheroids had elevated expression of β1 integrin and low expression of E-cadherin. Addition of β1 integrin blocking antibody or siRNA-mediated downregulation of β1 integrin resulted in reduced tightness of the spheroids. Interestingly, the loss of MUC16 and E-cadherin expression resulted in the formation of more compact spheroids. Therefore, our findings support the heterotypic nature of spheroids from malignant EOC ascites. In addition, our data describe an unusual link between E-cadherin expression and less compact spheroids. Our data also emphasize the role of MUC16 and β1 integrin in EOC spheroid formation.

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Accession: 058295872

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PMID: 27612856

DOI: 10.1007/s10585-016-9821-y

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