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Breast Cancer Res. 2003;5(2):83-8. Epub 2003 Feb 3.

Host microenvironment in breast cancer development: inflammatory and immune cells in tumour angiogenesis and arteriogenesis.

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Henderson Research Centre, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Breast cancer progression is associated with and dependent upon robust neovascularization. It is becoming clear that tumour-associated 'normal' cells, such as immune/inflammatory cells, endothelial cells and stromal cells, conspire with cancer cells in promoting this process. In particular, infiltrating immune/inflammatory cells secrete a diverse repertoire of growth factors and proteases that enable them to enhance tumour growth by stimulating angiogenesis and, as we suggest here, by promoting 'tumour arteriogenesis' - enlargement of feeding vessels supplying the expanding tumour capillary bed. Macrophages and their chemoattractants (e.g. macrophage chemoattractant protein-1) are critical for the arteriogenic process in ischaemia, and probably also in breast neoplasia. A better understanding of these various cellular and molecular constituents of breast cancer neovascularization may be useful in designing more effective therapies.

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