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Angiogenesis: now and then

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Costa C, Soares R, Schmitt F. Angiogenesis: now and then. APMIS 2004;112:402–12.

Angiogenesis or new blood vessel formation plays an essential role during embryogenesis, adult vascular remodeling and in several pathological disorders, as in tumor development. Although sprouting of blood vessels is the principal angiogenic mechanism, additional ones, such as the recruitment of bone marrow-derived cells, have recently been described. These processes are controlled by several molecules, although members of the VEGF family of angiogenic factors and its receptors seem to be the main mediators. Initially, VEGF receptors were described as endothelial specific; however, further studies have reported their presence in several types of cells of non-endothelial origin, such as tumor cells. This VEGF receptor altered expression has suggested an angiogenesis-independent growth advantage mechanism on certain types of cancers by the generation of autocrine loops. A possible role in tumorigenesis and a potential novel target in cancer therapy have been hypothesized. Detection of other receptors and molecules considered to be angiogenic players has also been observed on tumor cells. Currently, their clinical significance as well as their potential as therapeutic targets for the treatment of certain cancers is being evaluated, having in mind the future development of promising mechanism-based therapies. The aspects mentioned above are the main focus of this review, which aims to throw light on recent findings respecting angiogenesis and novel therapeutic approaches.
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Keywords: Angiogenesis; VEGF receptors; endothelial progenitor cells

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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