A novel model for evaluating therapies targeting human tumor vasculature and human cancer stem-like cells

Daniela Burgos-Ojeda, Karen McLean, Shoumei Bai, Heather Pulaski, Yusong Gong, Ines Silva, Karl Skorecki, Maty Tzukerman, Ronald J. Buckanovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Human tumor vessels express tumor vascular markers (TVM), proteins that are not expressed in normal blood vessels. Antibodies targeting TVMs could act as potent therapeutics. Unfortunately, preclinical in vivo studies testing anti-human TVM therapies have been difficult to do due to a lack of in vivo models with confirmed expression of human TVMs. We therefore evaluated TVM expression in a human embryonic stem cell-derived teratoma (hESCT) tumor model previously shown to have human vessels. We now report that in the presence of tumor cells, hESCT tumor vessels express human TVMs. The addition of mouse embryonic fibroblasts and human tumor endothelial cells significantly increases the number of human tumor vessels. TVM induction is mostly tumor-type-specific with ovarian cancer cells inducing primarily ovarian TVMs, whereas breast cancer cells induce breast cancer specific TVMs. We show the use of this model to test an antihuman specific TVM immunotherapeutics; anti-human Thy1 TVM immunotherapy results in central tumor necrosis and a three-fold reduction in human tumor vascular density. Finally, we tested the ability of the hESCT model, with human tumor vascular niche, to enhance the engraftment rate of primary human ovarian cancer stem-like cells (CSC). ALDH+ CSC from patients (n = 6) engrafted in hESCT within 4 to 12 weeks whereas none engrafted in the flank. ALDH- ovarian cancer cells showed no engraftment in the hESCT or flank (n = 3). Thus, this model represents a useful tool to test anti-human TVM therapy and evaluate in vivo human CSC tumor biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3555-3565
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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