Until recently, tumor vascularization was thought to occur exclusively through angiogenesis. However, recent studies using different animal models of cancer suggested the importance of bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) (i.e. postnatal vasculogenesis) in tumor vascularization and growth. EPCs are present in the peripheral blood, their levels are increased in response to certain signals/cytokines, and they home into the neovascular bed of malignant tissues. Furthermore, at the clinical level, evidence is emerging that changes in EPC levels might predict the efficacy of anticancer drug combinations that include antiangiogenic agents. On the basis of these observations, EPCs have attractive potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications for malignant diseases. In this paper, we review biological features of EPCs and speculate on the utility of these progenitor cells for medical oncology.
- Endothelial progenitor cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology