Angiotropism, pericytic mimicry and extravascular migratory metastasis in melanoma: an alternative to intravascular cancer dissemination

Claire Lugassy, Sohila Zadran, Laurent A Bentolila, Madhuri Wadehra, Roshini Prakash, S Thomas Carmichael, Hynda K Kleinman, Bruno Péault, Lionel Larue, Raymond L Barnhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

For more than 15 years, angiotropism in melanoma has been emphasized as a marker of extravascular migration of tumor cells along the abluminal vascular surface, unveiling an alternative mechanism of tumor spread distinct from intravascular dissemination. This mechanism has been termed extravascular migratory metastasis (EVMM). During EVMM, angiotropic tumor cells migrate in a 'pericytic-like' manner (pericytic mimicry) along the external surfaces of vascular channels, without intravasation. Through this pathway, melanoma cells may spread to nearby or more distant sites. Angiotropism is a prognostic factor predicting risk for metastasis in human melanoma, and a marker of EVMM in several experimental models. Importantly, analogies of EVMM and pericytic mimicry include neural crest cell migration, vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, and recent studies have suggested that the interaction between melanoma cells and the abluminal vascular surface induce differential expression of genes reminiscent of cancer migration and embryonic/stem cell state transitions. A recent work revealed that repetitive UV exposure of primary cutaneous melanomas in a genetically engineered mouse model promotes metastatic progression via angiotropism and migration along the abluminal vascular surface. Finally, recent data using imaging of melanoma cells in a murine model have shown the progression of tumor cells along the vascular surfaces. Taken together, these data provide support for the biological phenomenon of angiotropism and EVMM, which may open promising new strategies for reducing or preventing melanoma metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-52
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Microenvironment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


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