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Clinical implications of angiogenesis in cancers

Authors Roberta WC Pang, Ronnie TP Poon

Published 15 June 2006 Volume 2006:2(2) Pages 97—108

Roberta WC Pang1, Ronnie TP Poon2
Departments of 1Medicine and 2Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China

Abstract: Angiogenesis plays an important role in the growth and progression of cancer. The regulation of tumor angiogenesis depends on a net balance of angiogenic factors and antiangiogenic factors, which are secreted by both tumor cells and host-infiltrating cells. Numerous studies have indicated that assessment of angiogenic activity by either microvessel density or expression of angiogenic factors in cancer can provide prognostic information independent of conventional clinicopathological factors such as tumor staging. Some studies also suggested that assessment of tumor angiogenesis may predict cancer response to chemotherapy or radiotherapy. However, the most important clinical implication of tumor angiogenesis is the development of a novel strategy of anticancer therapy targeting tumor vessels instead of cancer cells. Antiangiogenic therapy aims to inhibit the growth of tumor, and current evidence suggests that it works best in combination with conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. Recently, a monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor, which is one of the most potent angiogenic factors, has been approved for clinical use in colorectal cancer patients after a clinical trial confirmed that combining the antibody with standard chemotherapy regimen could prolong patient survival. The clinical implications of angiogenesis in cancer are reviewed in this article.

Keywords: angiogenesis, antiangiogenic therapy, cancer, prognosis

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