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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jan;14(1):44-50.

Emerging role of endothelin-1 in tumor angiogenesis.

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Molecular Pathology Laboratory, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Via delle Messi d'Oro 156, 00158 Rome, Italy.


Tumor vessels express distinct molecular markers that are functionally relevant in the angiogenic process. Although tyrosine kinase receptor agonists are the major mediators of angiogenesis, several G-protein-coupled receptor agonists have also been shown to have a role. Among these, endothelin-1 (ET-1), by acting directly on endothelial cells via the ET(B) receptor, modulates different stages of neovascularization, including proliferation, migration, invasion, protease production and morphogenesis, and also stimulates neovascularization in vivo. ET-1 can also modulate tumor angiogenesis indirectly through the induction of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Engagement of the ET(A) receptor by ET-1 induces VEGF production by increasing levels of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha. Moreover, tumor cells themselves, predominantly expressing the ET(A) receptor, might form vessel-like channels within the tumors. The role of ET-1 and its signaling network in tumor angiogenesis suggests that new therapeutic strategies using specific ET(A)-receptor antagonists could improve antitumor treatment by inhibiting both neovascularization and tumor cell growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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