Role of nitric oxide in the development of distant metastasis from squamous cell carcinoma.
BACKGROUND: Metastasis, the dissemination of malignant cells to distant sites, remains one of the most significant factors responsible for death from cancer. Recent studies have shown some improvement in the rate of distant metastasis (DM) with the addition of chemotherapy to surgery and radiation for treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, diagnosis and treatment at an early stage ultimately leads to a better prognosis. The prediction of which patients will develop metastasis and the selection of treatment most effective at preventing and treating metastasis remains dependent on an incomplete understanding of prognostic factors and the biological and molecular basis for metastatic development. This study was undertaken using an in vivo model to investigate the possible role of nitric oxide (NO) in the development of metastasis from HNSCC. The findings will result in better understanding of the metastatic process for HNSCC, with the potential to develop and implement therapies that could prevent and treat metastasis in patients. OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: 1) To analyze whether in vivo videomicroscopy (IVVM) is useful for the study of DM from squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck; 2) with use of IVVM, investigate the effect of the biological mediators NO and interleukin (IL)-1 on the adhesion of circulating human HNSCC cells in the hepatic microcirculation. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective study using an animal model. METHODS: Phase 1: athymic nude rats and mice were used for IVVM experiments. The cremaster muscle and liver, used as arterial and venous flow models, were tested to determine whether IVVM was useful for the study of human HNSCC interactions with the microcirculation. A human squamous cell carcinoma cell line (FaDu) labeled with the intracytoplasmic fluorescent marker BCECF-am. was used for all experiments. Videomicroscopic images of FaDu cells in the microcirculation were analyzed for cell adhesion, morphology, deformation, circulation, location of adhesion within the microcirculation, and alteration of microvascular circulation. Phase 2: the effect of IL-1, NO, and NO inhibitors on HNSCC cell adhesion in the hepatic microcirculation of nude mice was analyzed by IVVM. This was followed by histologic determination of the ratio of FaDu cells present for liver area analyzed. Nude mice were treated with 1) IL-1; 2) L-arginine (an NO substrate); or 3) L-N-monomethyl-L-arginine (an NO synthase inhibitor) alone or in combination. These data were analyzed statistically to determine the effect on cell adhesion in the liver. RESULTS: IVVM provided a method for the study of circulating HNSCC with the microcirculation in both the cremaster and liver models. FaDu cells were arrested at the inflow side of the circulation, with maintenance of cell integrity. L-arginine and IL-1 both increased FaDu cell arrest in the liver above baseline (P = .00008 and P = .03), and the combination of these agents potentiated the effect (P = .000009). CONCLUSIONS: IVVM allows direct assessment of circulating HNSCC with the microcirculation and is a powerful model for the study of DM. NO and IL-1 play a role in increasing the arrest of HNSCC in the liver and are important in the generation of DM in patients with HNSCC.
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