Background: Vascular co-option is one of the main features of brain tumor progression. It is identified using histopathological analysis, but no antibody-specific markers were found, and no universally accepted histological features were defined. Methods: We employed double immunohistochemical stainings for CD31, P-gp, S100A10, and mitochondria on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded human samples of IDH-WT glioblastoma, IDH-mutant astrocytoma, and meningioma to study vascular co-option across different brain tumors and across normal, peritumoral, and intratumoral areas using the Aperio colocalization algorithm, which is a valid and robust method to handle and investigate large data sets. Results: The results have shown that (i) co-opted vessels could be recognized by the presence of metabolically overactive (evaluated as mitochondria expression) and P-gp(+) or S100A10(+) tumor cells surrounding CD31(+) endothelial cells; (ii) vascular co-option occurs in the intratumoral area of meningioma and astrocytoma; and (iii) vascular co-option is prevalent in peritumoral glioblastoma area. Conclusions: The described approach identifies new markers for cellular components of the vessel wall and techniques that uncover the order and localization of vascularization mechanisms, which may contribute to developing new and possibly more effective therapeutic strategies.
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