Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is highly dependent on angiogenesis, due to the overactivation of the VHL/HIF/VEGF/VEGFRs axis; this justifies the marked sensitivity of this neoplasm to antiangiogenic agents which, however, ultimately fail to control tumor growth. RCC also frequently shows alterations in the mTOR signaling pathway, and mTOR inhibitors have shown a similar pattern of initial activity/late failure as pure antiangiogenic agents. Understanding mechanisms of resistance to these agents would be key to improve the outcome of our patients. Circulating endothelial cells are a family of mainly bone marrow-derived progenitors, which have been postulated to be responsible of the reactivation of angiogenesis in different tumors. In this review, we shall discuss the complex nature and function of these cells, the evidence pro and contra their contribution to tumor vascularization, especially as far as RCC is concerned, and their possible role in determining resistance to presently available treatments.
- Antiangiogenic agents
- Circulating endothelial cells
- Endothelial colony forming cells
- mTOR inhibitors
- Renal cell carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas