Friday, 16 February 2018 16:53

Cancer cell-derived von Willebrand factor enhanced metastasis of gastric adenocarcinoma



Ai-jun Yang,1 Min Wang,1 Yan Wang,1 Wei Cai,1 Qiang Li,1 Ting-ting Zhao,1 Li-han Zhang,1 Katie Houck,2 Xu Chen,1 Yan-ling Jin,1 Ji-ying Mu,1 Jing-fei Dong2,3, Min Li1

1Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China

2Bloodworks Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA

3University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA



Cancer prognosis is poor for patients with blood-borne metastasis. Platelets are known to assist cancer cells in transmigrating through the endothelium, but ligands for the platelet-mediated cancer metastasis remain poorly defined. von Willebrand factor (vWF) is a major platelet ligand that has been widely used as a biomarker in cancer and associated inflammation. However, its functional role in cancer growth and metastasis is largely unknown. Here we report that gastric cancer cells from patients and cells from two well-established gastric cancer lines express vWF and secrete it into the circulation, upon which it rapidly becomes cell-bound to mediate cancer-cell aggregation and interaction with platelets and endothelial cells. The vWF-mediated homotypic and heterotypic cell–cell interactions promote the pulmonary graft of vWF-overexpressing gastric cancer BGC823 cells in a mouse model. The metastasis-promoting activity of vWF was blocked by antibodies against vWF and its platelet receptor GP Ibα. It was also reduced by an inhibitory siRNA that suppresses vWF expression. These findings demonstrate a causal role of cancer-cell-derived vWF in mediating gastric cancer metastasis and identify vWF as a new therapeutic target.