Endothelial progenitor cells support tumour growth and metastatisation: implications for the resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy

Francesco Moccia, Estella Zuccolo, Valentina Poletto, Mariapia Cinelli, Elisa Bonetti, Germano Guerra, Vittorio Rosti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have recently been shown to promote the angiogenic switch in solid neoplasms, thereby promoting tumour growth and metastatisation. The genetic suppression of EPC mobilization from bone marrow prevents tumour development and colonization of remote organs. Therefore, it has been assumed that anti-angiogenic treatments, which target vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signalling in both normal endothelial cells and EPCs, could interfere with EPC activation in cancer patients. Our recent data, however, show that VEGF fails to stimulate tumour endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs), i.e. the only EPC subtype truly belonging to the endothelial lineage. The present article will survey current evidence about EPC involvement in the angiogenic switch: we will focus on the controversy about EPC definition and on the debate around their actual incorporation into tumour neovessels. We will then discuss how ECFC insensitivity to VEGF stimulation in cancer patients could underpin their well-known resistance to anti-VEGF therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6603-6614
Number of pages12
JournalTumor Biology
Volume36
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • Anti-angiogenic therapy
  • Ca signalling
  • Endothelial progenitor cells
  • Patient refractoriness
  • Renal cellular carcinoma
  • Tumour vascularisation
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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