Role of coagulation in the recruitment of colon adenocarcinoma cells to thrombus under shear

Sandra M. Baker-Groberg, Asako Itakura, András Gruber, Owen J.T. McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Colorectal cancer metastases can appear on the peritoneum and in lymph nodes, liver, and lungs, suggesting both hematogenous and lymphatic spreading of the primary tumor. While antithrombotic agents have been shown to reduce both long-term incidence and metastasis, the role of coagulation in facilitating metastasis is ill defined. We investigated the kinetics and molecular mechanisms of metastatic colon adenocarcinoma cell recruitment to thrombi under shear flow, ex vivo. Platelet aggregates were formed by perfusing citrated anticoagulated whole blood over immobilized fibrinogen or fibrillar collagen. Thrombi were formed by perfusing recalcified whole blood over fibrinogen or fibrillar collagen in the presence of coagulation. Cultured colon adenocarcinoma cells (SW620) were perfused either during or following platelet aggregate or thrombus formation. The degree of transient tumor cell interactions (recruitment, rolling, and release) and the number of firmly adhered tumor cells were quantified using fluorescence microscopy. Platelet aggregates and thrombi formed on either fibrinogen- or fibrillar-collagen supported SW620 cell interactions and adhesion under shear. Thrombi or fibrin supported a greater degree of SW620 cell interactions and adhesion compared with platelet aggregates or fibrinogen, respectively, demonstrating that coagulation promoted SW620 cell recruitment under shear. Interestingly, in the absence of anticoagulation, we observed SW620 preferentially binding to thrombus-bound polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs). The addition of purified PMNs to thrombi resulted in a doubling of the number of interacting and bound SW620 cells. Since thrombi often accumulate and activate leukocytes, our findings suggest that leukocytes may play a role in localizing metastases to sites of thrombogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C951-C959
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013


  • Cancer metastasis
  • Coagulation
  • Inflammation
  • Leukocytes
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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