Attachment of circulating tumor cells to endothelial cell adhesion molecules restricted to select vascular compartments is thought to be responsible for site-specific metastasis. Lung-metastatic rat R3230AC-MET breast and RPC-2 prostate carcinoma cells bound outside-out endothelial cell membrane vesicles, prepared by perfusion of the rat lung vasculature with a low-strength formaldehyde solution, in significantly higher numbers than their nonmetastatic counterparts R3230AC-LR and RPC-LR. In contrast, vesicles derived from the vasculature of a nonmetastasized organ (e.g., hind leg muscle) showed no binding preference for either of the four tumor cell lines. Lung-derived endothelial vesicles were used here to generate mAbs against lung endothelial cell adhesion molecules. The first group of mice were actively immunized against lung endothelial vesicles, whereas the second group was injected with syngeneic mouse antiserum against leg endothelial vesicles before active immunization with lung endothelial vesicles. 17 hybridoma supernatants obtained from the two fusions bound lung vesicles with at least a 10-fold higher affinity than leg vesicles. Seven (four obtained by a passive/active immunization protocol) stained rat capillary endothelia. One mAb, mAb 8.6A3, inhibited specific adhesion of lung-derived vesicles to lung-metastatic breast and prostate carcinoma cells. Purification of the antigen (endothelial cell adhesion molecule) from rat lung extracts revealed a protein with a 110-kD mol wt. NH2-terminal sequencing established identity with dipeptidyl peptidase IV which had been reported to serve as a fibronectin-binding protein. These results indicate that vesicles obtained from in situ perfused organs are a convenient immunogen for the production of antibodies to compartment-specific endothelial cell surface molecules, and reinforce the concept that endothelial cell surface components are selectively recognized by circulating cancer cells during metastasis formation.

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