Phenotypic and functional characteristics of tumour-derived microvascular endothelial cells

Giulio Alessandri, Renato G S Chirivi, Simona Fiorentini, Romina Dossi, Stefano Bonardelli, Stefano Maria Giulini, Gerardo Zanetta, Fabio Landoni, Pier Paolo Graziotti, Adolfo Turano, Arnoldo Caruso, Luciano Zardi, Raffaella Giavazzi, Maria Rosa Bani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We recently developed a method for the isolation and purification of tumour-derived endothelium. In this study the phenotypic and functional properties of human tumour-derived microvascular endothelial cells (TdMEC) were examined. Endothelium obtained from human adrenal gland specimens (HAMEC) was used as a reference microvascular endothelial cell population. TdMEC formed a confluent monolayer with the typical morphological appearance of endothelium and were positive for endothelial markers such as Ulex-1 lectin, CD31 antigen, von Willebrand Factor and VE-cadherin. The addition of acidic Fibroblast Growth Factor (aFGF), basic FGF (bFGF) or Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) substantially improved proliferation of TdMEC; and kidney carcinoma derived endothelial cells were more responsive to FGFs, whereas glioblastoma derived endothelial cells greatly responded to VEGF. TdMEC expressed high levels of the VEGF receptors, KDR/flk-1 and Flt-1, as shown by northern blot analysis. TdMEC expressed the adhesion molecules ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and E-selectin that could be further increased by exposing TdMEC culture to interleukin-1. All the TdMEC expressed interleukin-8 mRNA. These findings show that TdMEC in vitro maintain several of the features described for microvasculature. Thus, TdMEC represent a useful tool to study markers for tumor vasculature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-662
Number of pages8
JournalClinical & Experimental Metastasis
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Cytokines
  • Endothelium
  • Tumour microvessel
  • VEGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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