To grow beyond a size of approximately 1-2 mm3, tumor cells activate many processes to develop blood vasculature. Growing evidences indicate that the formation of the tumor vascular network is very complex, and is not restricted to angiogenesis. Cancer cell-derived tumor vasculatures have been recently described. Among them, endothelial differentiation of tumor cells have been directly related to cancer stem cells, which are cells within a tumor that possess the capacity to self-renew, and to exhibit multipotential heterogeneous lineages of cancer cells. Vasculogenic mimicry has been described to be formed by cancer cells expressing stemness markers. Thus, cancer stem cells have been proposed to contribute to vasculogenic mimicry, though its relation is yet to be clarified. Here, we analyzed the tumor vasculature by using a model of mouse cancer stem cells, miPS-LLCcm cells, which we have previously established from mouse induced pluripotent stem cells and we introduced the DsRed gene in miPS-LLCcm to trace them in vivo. Various features of vasculature were evaluated in ovo, in vitro, and in vivo. The tumors formed in allograft nude mice exhibited angiogenesis in chick chorioallantoic membrane assay. In those tumors, along with penetrated host endothelial vessels, we detected endothelial differentiation from cancer stem cells and formation of vasculogenic mimicry. The angiogenic factors such as VEGF-A and FGF2 were expressed predominantly in the cancer stem cells subpopulation of miPS-LLCcm cells. Our results suggested that cancer stem cells play key roles in not only the recruitment of host endothelial vessels into tumor, but also in maturation of endothelial linage of cancer stem cell's progenies. Furthermore, the undifferentiated subpopulation of the miPS-LLCcm participates directly in the vasculogenic mimicry formation. Collectively, we show that miPS-LLCcm cells have advantages to further study tumor vasculature and to develop novel targeting strategies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1906-1921
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Cancer Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Angiogenesis
  • CAM assay
  • Cancer stem cells
  • Differentiation
  • Endothelial cell
  • Tube formation
  • Tumor vasculature
  • Vasculogenic mimicry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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