Angiogenesis and co-optive vascular remodeling are prerequisites of solid tumor growth. Vascular heterogeneity, notably perivascular composition, may play a critical role in determining the rate of cancer progression. The contribution of vascular pericyte heterogeneity to cancer progression and therapy response is unknown. Here, we show that angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) orchestrates pericyte heterogeneity in breast cancer with an effect on metastatic disease and response to chemotherapy. Using multispectral imaging of human breast tumor specimens, we report that perivascular composition, as defined by the ratio of PDGFRβ– and desmin+ pericytes, provides information about the response to epirubicin but not paclitaxel. Using 17 distinct patient-derived breast cancer xenografts, we demonstrate a cancer cell–derived influence on stromal Ang2 production and a cancer cell–defined control over tumor vasculature and perivascular heterogeneity. The aggressive features of tumors and their distinct response to therapies may thus emerge by the cancer cell–defined engagement of distinct and heterogeneous angiogenic programs.
Jiha Kim, Pedro Correa de Sampaio, Donna Marie Lundy, Qian Peng, Kurt W. Evans, Hikaru Sugimoto, Mihai Gagea, Yvonne Kienast, Nayra Soares do Amaral, Rafael Malagoli Rocha, Hans Petter Eikesdal, Per Eystein Lønning, Funda Meric-Bernstam, Valerie S. LeBleu