As a major heparan sulfate proteoglycan (PG) in basement membranes, perlecan has been linked to tumor invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis. Here we produced epidermal tumors in immunocompromised rats by injection of mouse RT101 tumor cells. Tumor sections stained with species-specific perlecan antibodies, together with immunoelectron microscopy, showed that perlecan distributed around blood vessels was of both host and tumor cell origin. Tumor-derived perlecan was also distributed throughout the tumor matrix. Blood vessels stained with rat-specific PECAM-1 antibody showed their host origin. RT101 cells also expressed two other basement membrane heparan sulfate PGs, agrin and type XVIII collagen. Antisense targeting of perlecan inhibited tumor cell growth in vitro, while exogenous recombinant perlecan, but not heparin, restored the growth of antisense perlecan-expressing cells, suggesting that perlecan core protein, rather than heparan sulfate chains from perlecan, agrin, or type XVIII collagen, regulates tumor cell growth. However, perlecan core protein requirement was not related to fibroblast growth factor-7 binding because RT101 cells were unresponsive to and lacked receptors for this growth factor. In vivo, antisense perlecan-transfected cells generated no tumors, whereas untransfected and vector-transfected cells formed tumors with obvious neovascularization, suggesting that tumor perlecan rather than host perlecan controls tumor growth and angiogenesis.
Keywords: Animals; Antisense Elements (Genetics); Cell Line, Tumor; Cell Proliferation; Collagen Type IV; Epidermis; Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans; Immunoblotting; Laminin; Membrane Glycoproteins; Mice; Neoplasm Transplantation; Neovascularization, Pathologic; Rats; Recombinant Proteins; Skin Neoplasms; Transfection