Solid tumors often contain poorly vascularized necrotic regions. In order to determine how such regions are formed within tumors and to identify substances which affect their formation, we have transformed nontumorigenic BALB/c 3T3 cells with an activated Ha-ras oncogene. Cells that were derived from independent clones of Ha-ras-transformed cells were injected s.c. into BALB/c mice. When the resulting tumors reached a weight of about 4 g, the mice received i.v. injections of 51Crlabeled RBC. The distribution of the labeled RBC in various areas within the tumors was determined. The peripheral parts of these tumors contained viable cells, numerous blood vessels, and high concentrations of labeled RBC. The cores of the tumors on the other hand appeared necrotic, accumulated much lower concentrations of labeled RBC, and contained largely fibrous material and almost no viable cells. An expression vector containing the complementary DNA of human basic fibroblast growth factor was stably transfected into cells derived from two of the Ha-ras-transformed clones. Transfected clones of cells which produced low or intermediate amounts of basic fibroblast growth factor developed, following their injection into BALB/c mice, into tumors resembling the tumors that develop from the parental Ha-ras-transformed cells. In contrast, about one-half of the clones which produced large amounts of basic fibroblast growth factor developed into tumors which were composed almost totally of live tissue and were almost completely devoid of necrotic areas. In these tumors the labeled RBC were distributed evenly throughout the tumor.


Supported by Grant 3024 from the Tobacco Research Council and by a grant from the Israeli Ministry of Health. We also acknowledge support from Sterling Winthrop, Inc., a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak, Inc.

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