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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2002 Nov 29;197(1-2):239-50.

Angiogenesis in prostate cancer: its role in disease progression and possible therapeutic approaches.

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  • 1Department of Urology, HP G05.201, University Medical Center Utrecht, P.O. Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The interaction between cancer cells and their microenvironment is a promising area for the development of novel therapeutic anti-cancer modalities. The formation of new blood vessels, angiogenesis, is an important step in cancer progression. Angiogenesis is a complex multistep process involving close orchestration of endothelial cells, extracellular matrix, and soluble factors. Essentially every step has been found to be regulated by inducers and inhibitors. Prostate cancer has the ability to produce angiogenic factors such as metalloproteinases, vascular endothelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor 2, transforming growth factor-beta and cyclooxygenase-2. In several studies in prostate cancer an increased microvessel density is associated with poorer prognosis. On the other hand several endogenous inhibitors of angiogenesis have been described in prostate cancer e.g., angiostatin, endostatin, prostate specific antigen (PSA), thrombospondin-1, interleukin 10, interferons and retinoids. The expanding insight in the process of angiogenesis has resulted in a large number of pharmaceutical agents that have been tested in preclinical studies and are currently tested in clinical trials. These agents inhibit endothelial cell proliferation or migration and induce apoptosis. This ultimately will affect the formation of new vessels thereby inducing tumor dormancy. Because antiangiogenic treatment is cytostatic rather than cytotoxic, patients will need long-term therapy to prevent regrowth of the tumor. Prostate cancer is an ideal tumor for antiangiogenic studies because of the availability of a reliable tumor marker, PSA, the indolent clinical course of this cancer and the low rate of proliferation even in metastatic sites. Furthermore, clinical studies showed limited side effects, which is advantageous in this elderly patient group. Whether the ultimate antiangiogenic treatment is effective as a single agent or in combination with radiation therapy, chemotherapy or immunotherapy remains to be determined.

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