Altered angiogenesis in the tumor microenvironment

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Tumor blood vessels play an important role in tumor progression and metastasis. Thus, targeting the tumor blood vessels is an important strategy in cancer therapy. Tumor blood vessels generally arise from pre-existing vessels and have been thought to be genetically normal. However, they have been shown to differ from their normal counterparts, e.g. with regard to the morphological changes. We isolated tumor endothelial cells (TEC) from mouse tumor xenografts and showed that they were abnormal. TEC up-regulate many genes, proliferate more rapidly and migrate more than normal endothelial cells (NEC). Furthermore, the TEC in our study were cytogenetically abnormal. We concluded that TEC can acquire cytogenetic abnormalities while in the tumor microenvironment. In order to develop ideal antiangiogenic therapies, understanding the crosstalk between blood vessels and the tumor microenvironment is important. This review considers the current studies on TEC abnormalities and discusses the possible mechanism by which the tumor microenvironment produces abnormal TEC.

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