Angiogenesis and antiangiogenic therapy in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

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Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, requires dynamic expansion, assembly and stabilization of vascular endothelial cells in response to proangiogenic stimuli. Antiangiogenic strategies have become an important therapeutic modality for solid tumors. While many aspects of postnatal pathological angiogenesis have been extensively studied in the context of nonhematopoietic neoplasms, the precise role of these processes in lymphoma pathogenesis is under active investigation. Lymphoma growth and progression is potentiated by at least two distinct angiogenic mechanisms: autocrine stimulation of tumor cells via expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptors by lymphoma cells, as well as paracrine influences of proangiogenic tumor microenvironment on both local neovascular transformation and recruitment of circulating bone marrow-derived progenitors. Lymphoma-associated infiltrating host cells including hematopoietic monocytes, T cells and mesenchymal pericytes have increasingly been associated with the pathogenesis and prognosis of lymphoma, in part providing perivascular guidance and support to neoangiogenesis. Collectively, these distinct angiogenic mechanisms appear to be important therapeutic targets in selected non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) subtypes. Understanding these pathways has led to the introduction of antiangiogenic treatment strategies into the clinic where they are currently under assessment in several ongoing studies of NHL patients.

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