Anti-angiogenic gene therapy of cancer: Current status and future prospects

Luca Persano, Marika Crescenzi, Stefano Indraccolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The discovery of endogenous inhibitors of angiogenesis has made it possible to test the hypothesis that blocking the angiogenic switch may keep tumor growth in check, and has added a new investigational arm to the field of cancer gene therapy. Angiogenesis inhibitors are heterogeneous in origin and potency, and their growing list includes proteolysis products of larger molecules with a different function, such as angiostatin, endostatin and vasostatin, modulators of vascular endothelial growth factor activity, such as sFLT-1, and some cytokines/chemokines with marked anti-endothelial activity, such as IL-12, IFN-α, and CXCL10. Pre-clinical studies have clearly indicated that these factors are essentially cytostatic and that they need long-term administration in order to obtain prolonged anti-tumor effects, representing a rational basis for their delivery by a gene therapy approach. The experimental approaches attempted to date, reviewed herein, indicate overall that anti-angiogenic gene therapy has efficacy mainly as an early intervention strategy and that a better understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying resistance to angiogenesis inhibition, as well as appropriate combined treatments, are required to generate a conceptual advancement which could drive the field towards successful management of established tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-114
Number of pages28
JournalMolecular Aspects of Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • Angiogenesis
  • Angiostatin
  • Cancer
  • Endostatin
  • Gene therapy
  • Interferon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine


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