Morphologic research of microcirculation patterns in human and animal melanoma

Med Oncol. 2006;23(3):403-9. doi: 10.1385/MO:23:3:403.


Objective: The pattern and distribution of microcirculation of malignant melanoma were studied in human malignant melanoma tumor samples and in an animal model by staining of paraffin-embedded sections and transelectron microscopy.

Methods: Blood supply models for melanoma were studied with immunohistochemical and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) double-staining technique. New sections were made from 190 paraffin-embedded melanoma samples, and immunohistochemical staining of the platelet-endothelial cell adhesive molecule (CD31 antigen) and PAS staining were conducted to confirm different microcirculation patterns of melanoma. Furthermore, malignant melanoma cells B16 and LiBr were injected into the groin of C57 mice and into the abdominal cavity of SCID mice, respectively. Tumors with vasculogenic mimicry (VM) were stained with PAS and CD31 to study the morphology and distribution of VM in mice melanoma. A diluted suspension of activated carbon was injected into the circulation of mice previously inoculated in the groin with B16 melanoma cells. Tumor tissue with VM was observed under electron microscopy.

Results: There were three kinds of microcirculation pattern in human and animal melanoma. The walls of VM were positive for PAS staining and negative for CD31 staining in the tumor tissues. The distribution of VM and mosaic vessels was not uniform and appeared in patches. VM along with endothelium-dependent vessels and mosaic vessels sustained the blood supply for the tumors. The results from electron microscopy validated the presence of three patterns.

Conclusions: The results obtained using activated carbon as a tracer showed that VM and mosaic vessels connect with the host blood circulation. VM and mosaic vessels exist in malignant melanoma. Tumor cells can obtain oxygen and nutriment through VM and mosaic vessels besides endothelium-dependent vessels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Melanoma / blood supply*
  • Melanoma / blood*
  • Melanoma, Experimental
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microcirculation
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / biosynthesis


  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1