In ovarian cancer, platelet extravasation into the tumor and resulting metastasis is thought to be regulated mostly by the vascular endothelium. Because it is difficult to dissect complex underlying events in murine models, organ-on-a-chip methodology is applied to model vascular and platelet functions in ovarian cancer. This system (OvCa-Chip) consists of microfluidic chambers that are lined by human ovarian tumor cells interfaced with a 3-dimensional endothelialized lumen. Subsequent perfusion with human platelets within the device's vascular endothelial compartment under microvascular shear conditions for 5 days uncovered organ-to-molecular-level contributions of the endothelium to triggering platelet extravasation into tumors. Further, analysis of effluents available from the device's individual tumor and endothelial chambers revealed temporal dynamics of vascular disintegration caused by cancer cells, a differential increase in cytokine expression, and an alteration of barrier maintenance genes in endothelial cells. These events, when analyzed within the device over time, made the vascular tissue leaky and promoted platelet extravasation. Atorvastatin treatment of the endothelial cells within the OvCa-Chip revealed improved endothelial barrier function, reduction in inflammatory cytokines and, eventually, arrest of platelet extravasation. These data were validated through corresponding observations in patient-derived tumor samples. The OvCa-Chip provides a novel in vitro dissectible platform to model the mechanisms of the cancer-vascularhematology nexus and the analyses of potential therapeutics.
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