Although hepatocellular cancer (HCC) usually occurs in the setting of liver fibrosis, the causal relationship between liver fibrosis and HCC is unclear. in vivo and in vitro models of HCC involving Colr/r mice (that produce a collagenase-resistant type I collagen) or wild-type (WT) mice were used to assess the relationship between type I collagen, liver fibrosis, and experimental HCC. HCC was either chemically induced in WT and Colr/r mice or Hepa 1-6 cells were engrafted into WT and Colr/r livers. The effect of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) from WT and Colr/r mice on the growth of Hepa 1-6 cells was studied by using multicellular tumor spheroids and xenografts. Collagen type I deposition and fibrosis were increased in Colr/r mice, but they developed fewer and smaller tumors. Hepa 1-6 cells had reduced tumor growth in the livers of Colr/r mice. Although Colr/r HSCs exhibited a more activated phenotype, Hepa 1-6 growth and malignancy were suppressed in multicellular tumor spheroids and in xenografts containing Colr/r HSCs. Treatment with vitronectin, which mimics the presence of degraded collagen fragments, converted the Colr/r phenotype into a WT phenotype. Although Colr/r mice have increased liver fibrosis, they exhibited decreased HCC in several models. Thus, increased liver type I collagen does not produce increased experimental HCC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine