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Cancer Treat Res. 2004;117:263-84.

Angiogenesis and invasion in gliomas.

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Neurosurgery, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Milano, Ospedale Maggiore di Milano, IRCCS, Italy.


Angiogenesis and tumor cell invasion are pathophysiological processes playing a pivotal role in glioma development and growth since the earliest phase. Angiogenesis and tumor invasion both can be considered as an invasive process in which cells are activated, and move away from their initial location, by modyfing the adhesiveness with the extracellular matrix, expressing new adhesion molecules, and degrading the extracellular matrix components by the active secretion of proteases. This process requires a complex cross-talking between endothelial and tumor cells, extracellular matrix components, and cellular elements of the host microenviroment. Both processes are under the tight regulation of a balance between stimulating and inhibiting factors. The existence of common mechanisms of regulation and the presence of naturally occurring factors that inihibit angiogenesis and invasion, makes the inhibition of both processes possible. Tumor cells may develop adapting mechanims that can allow the tumor to partially escape to the treatment, particularly when only one mechanism or one process is inhibited. The ideal treatment should simultaneously affect both angiogenesis and invasion, by the isolation or development of novel therapeutics capable of influencing both processes. As their efficacy seems also be dependent on the mode of delivery, additional studies are also needed to improve these modalities, in order to ultimately improve the extent and the duration of the therapeutic response. The most widely used in vitro and in vivo models to study angiogenesis and invasion are also discussed.

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