Brain Invasion along Perivascular Spaces by Glioma Cells: Relationship with Blood-Brain Barrier

Simone Pacioni, Quintino Giorgio D'Alessandris, Mariachiara Buccarelli, Alessandra Boe, Maurizio Martini, Luigi Maria Larocca, Giulia Bolasco, Lucia Ricci-Vitiani, Maria Laura Falchetti, Roberto Pallini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The question whether perivascular glioma cells invading the brain far from the tumor bulk may disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB) represents a crucial issue because under this condition tumor cells would be no more protected from the reach of chemotherapeutic drugs. A recent in vivo study that used human xenolines, demonstrated that single glioma cells migrating away from the tumor bulk are sufficient to breach the BBB. Here, we used brain xenografts of patient-derived glioma stem-like cells (GSCs) to show by immunostaining that in spite of massive perivascular invasion, BBB integrity was preserved in the majority of vessels located outside the tumor bulk. Interestingly, the tumor cells that invaded the brain for the longest distances traveled along vessels with retained BBB integrity. In surgical specimens of malignant glioma, the area of brain invasion showed several vessels with preserved BBB that were surrounded by tumor cells. On transmission electron microscopy, the cell inter-junctions and basal lamina of the brain endothelium were preserved even in conditions in which the tumor cells lay adjacently to blood vessels. In conclusion, BBB integrity associates with extensive perivascular invasion of glioma cells.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 19 2019


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