Sprouting angiogenesis requires endothelial cell (EC) migration. In glioblastoma (GBM), cancer stem cells (CSC) in the perivascular niche secrete factors that promote EC migration. Here, we identify a direct interaction between the CSCs and ECs that is mediated by RGD-peptide-dependent binding of L1CAM on CSCs with integrin αvβ3 on ECs. Using in vitro assays, we found that this interaction increased migration-associated signaling events in ECs, including activation of integrin

αvβ3, ERK, JNK and Akt, and VCAM-1 and E-selectin mRNA expression. Comparison of the effects of co-culturing CSCs with ECs versus the effects of conditioned media from CSCs co-cultured with ECs indicated that the effects of the direct interaction and soluble factors differed quantitatively and qualitatively. The direct interactions stimulated the migration of ECs and primed them to the migratory effects of soluble factors produced by the CSCs. The direct interaction also enhanced expression of pro-survival genes in CSCs and ECs. In GBM biopsies, Sox2-positive tumor cells were localized in close proximity to ECs and injection of β3-negative ECs or L1CAM-negative CSCs into brain slices in organotypic culture resulted in reduced interactions between ECs and CSCs.

RGD-peptide treatment of mice with established intracerebral GBM xenografts increased the mean distance of Sox2-positive tumor cells from ECs, decreased integrin αvβ3 activation and decreased vessel surface area. These data show that direct interactions between CSCs and ECs have potent effects on EC migration and angiogenesis in GBM and have implications for the design of angiogenesis-targeted therapies.

Citation Format: Monica E. Burgett, Justin D. Lathia, Patrick Roth, Amy S. Nowacki, Ping Huang, Amit Vasanji, Meizhang Li, Tatiana Byzova, Tom Mikkelsen, Shideng Bao, Jeremy Rich, Michael Weller, Candece L. Gladson. L1CAM and integrin αvβ3 mediate direct cell contact between cancer stem cells and endothelial cells: Promotion of endothelial cell migration and survival. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr 4178. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-4178