Peripheral chondrosarcoma progression is associated with increased type X collagen and vascularisation
Endochondral bone formation requires a cartilage template, known as the growth plate, and vascular invasion, bringing osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Endochondral chondrocytes undergo sequences of cell division, matrix secretion, cell hypertrophy, apoptosis, and matrix calcification/mineralisation. In this study, two critical steps of endochondral bone formation, the deposition of collagen X-rich matrix and blood vessel attraction/invasion, were investigated by immunohistochemistry. Fourteen multiple osteochondromas and six secondary peripheral chondrosarcomas occurring in patients with multiple osteochondromas were studied and compared to epiphyseal growth plate samples. Mutation analysis showed all studied patients (expect one) to harbour a germ-line mutations in either EXT1 or EXT2. Here, we described that homozygous mutations in EXT1/EXT2, which are causative for osteochondroma formation, are likely to affect terminal chondrocyte differentiation and vascularisation in the osteocartilaginous interface. Contrastingly, terminal chondrocyte differentiation and vascularisation seem to be unaffected in secondary peripheral chondrosarcoma. In addition, osteochondromas with high vascular density displayed a higher proliferation rate. A similar apoptotic rate was observed in osteochondromas and secondary peripheral chondrosarcomas. Recently, it has been shown that cells with functional EXT1 and EXT2 are outnumbering EXT1/EXT2 mutated cells in secondary peripheral chondrosarcomas. This might explain the increased type X collagen production and blood vessel attraction in these malignant tumours.