Vascularization, a hallmark of tumorigenesis, is classically thought to occur exclusively through angiogenesis (i.e. endothelial sprouting). However, there is a growing body of evidence that endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and proangiogenic hematopoietic cells (HCs) are able to support the vascularization of tumors and may therefore play a synergistic role with angiogenesis. An additional cell type being studied in the field of tumor vascularization is the circulating endothelial cell (CEC), whose presence in elevated numbers reflects vascular injury. Levels of EPCs and CECs are reported to correlate with tumor stage and have been evaluated as biomarkers of the efficacy of anticancer/antiangiogenic treatments. Furthermore, because EPCs and subtypes of proangiogenic HCs are actively participating in capillary growth, these cells are attractive potential vehicles for delivering therapeutic molecules. The current paper provides an update on the biology of CECs, EPCs and proangiogenic HCs, and explores the utility of these cell populations for clinical oncology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology