Formation of new blood vessels occurs in many physiological states (during development of the embryo, cycling changes of the female reproductive tract), as well as in pathological processes (such as diabetic retinopathy and wound healing). Angiogenesis has been shown to be related to tumor formation, prognosis, and response to treatment in many tumor types. Intratumoral microvessels can be related to tumor behavior or hormone secretion in different endocrine tumors. For example, invasive prolactinomas are more vascular than noninvasive adenomas; a surgical approach is more successful in macroprolactinomas with lower microvessel density. A higher number of microvessels have been found in papillary thyroid carcinomas during recurrences. A correlation between microvessel count and prognosis in papillary and medullary thyroid carcinomas has been suggested. Several stimulating and inhibiting factors involved in the regulation of angiogenesis have been identified. Among them, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been shown to be critically involved in angiogenesis and also in the neovascularization of solid tumors. Dopamine agonists (already in clinical use for prolactinomas) have potent inhibitory actions on VEGF signaling, and thus may be a new tool in antiangiogenic therapy. Secretion of VEGF in the great majority of human pituitary adenomas is inhibited by dexamethasone. This suggests that glucocorticoids can be considered in the treatment of certain pituitary tumors. The cyclic nature of angiogenesis in the female reproductive tract indicates that stimulation or inhibition of paracrine angiogenic factors may lead to new approaches for being able to influence reproductive endocrine disorders. Experimental and clinical aspects of interactions between angiogenic factors and tumor growth of the endocrine system are also discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medical Laboratory Technology