Lymphatic endothelial cells actively regulate prostate cancer cell invasion

Tariq Shah, Flonne Wildes, Samata Kakkad, Dmitri Artemov, Zaver M. Bhujwalla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Lymphatic vessels serve as the primary route for metastatic spread to lymph nodes. However, it is not clear how interactions between cancer cells and lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs), especially within hypoxic microenvironments, affect the invasion of cancer cells. Here, using an MR compatible cell perfusion assay, we investigated the role of LEC–prostate cancer (PCa) cell interaction in the invasion and degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by two human PCa cell lines, PC-3 and DU-145, under normoxia and hypoxia, and determined the metabolic changes that occurred under these conditions. We observed a significant increase in the invasion of ECM by invasive PC-3 cells, but not poorly invasive DU-145 cells when human dermal lymphatic microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC-dlys) were present. Enhanced degradation of ECM by PC-3 cells in the presence of HMVEC-dlys identified interactions between HMVEC-dlys and PCa cells influencing cancer cell invasion. The enhanced ECM degradation was partly attributed to increased MMP-9 enzymatic activity in PC-3 cells when HMVEC-dlys were in close proximity. Significantly higher uPAR and MMP-9 expression levels observed in PC-3 cells compared to DU-145 cells may be one mechanism for increased invasion and degradation of matrigel by these cells irrespective of the presence of HMVEC-dlys. Hypoxia significantly decreased invasion by PC-3 cells, but this decrease was significantly attenuated when HMVEC-dlys were present. Significantly higher phosphocholine was observed in invasive PC-3 cells, while higher glycerophosphocholine was observed in DU-145 cells. These metabolites were not altered in the presence of HMVEC-dlys. Significantly increased lipid levels and lipid droplets were observed in PC-3 and DU-145 cells under hypoxia reflecting an adaptive survival response to oxidative stress. These results suggest that in vivo, invasive cells in or near lymphatic endothelial cells are likely to be more invasive and degrade the ECM to influence the metastatic cascade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-911
Number of pages8
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • ECM degradation
  • MMP-9
  • hypoxia
  • invasion
  • lipid droplets
  • lymphatic endothelial cells
  • metabolism
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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