Clinical and experimental observations suggest that tumor-induced endothelial cell (EC) injury may be one of several initial events in the establishment of tumor metastases. This work investigates tumor-induced EC injury and the interaction between tumor-damaged EC and platelets. We used cultured bovine EC and extracts of four cultured human malignancies. EC injury was assessed by 51Cr and lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) release. Incubation of EC with melanoma, breast carcinoma or lung carcinoma caused significant LDH and 51Cr release, whereas colon cancer seemed ineffective. Increased adhesion of platelets to tumor-injured EC was noted. These observations indicate that certain varieties of tumor cause EC injury. Adhesion of platelets to tumor-injured EC results in the formation of platelet-tumor thrombi at the endothelial surface, an event that may initiate tumor invasion of the vessel wall.
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