Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common malignant tumor of the eye with extremely high metastatic potential. UM tumor cells can disseminate only hematogenously, thus, angiogenic signals have a particular role in the prognosis of the disease. Although the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in densely vascularized UMs has been reported previously, their role in the process of hematogenous spread of UM has not been studied. In this study, we investigated the regulation of angiogenesis in UM in correlation with the presence of CSCs. Seventy UM samples were collected to analyze the expression of CSC markers and angiogenic factors. The expression of CSC markers was studied by RT-PCR, Western blotting techniques and IHC-TMA technique. RT-PCR showed high expression of CSC markers, particularly nestin, FZD6 and SOX10 and somewhat lower expression of NGFR. The protein expression of FZD6, HIF-1α and VEGFA was further evaluated in 52 UM samples by the IHC-TMA technique. We report here for the first time a significant correlation between FZD6 and VEGFA expression in UM samples. The observed correlation between FZD6 and VEGFA suggests the presence of CSCs in UM that are associated with the vascularization process.
- Cancer stem cell
- Uveal melanoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Space and Planetary Science