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Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Nov;6(11):835-45. Epub 2006 Oct 5.

The multifaceted circulating endothelial cell in cancer: towards marker and target identification.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, European Institute of Oncology, 20141 Milan, Italy.


Increases in the number of circulating endothelial cells (CECs) and progenitors (CEPs) have been reported in various pathological conditions including cancer. Preclinical studies have shown that CEC and CEP kinetics correlate well with several standard laboratory angiogenesis assays, which cannot be used in humans. At the clinical level, evidence is emerging that CEC kinetics and viability might correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer patients who undergo anti-angiogenic treatment. Therefore, CEC and CEP measurement has potential as a surrogate marker for monitoring anti-angiogenic treatment and drug activity, and could help to determine the optimal biological dose of anti-angiogenic drugs, which are being used with increasing frequency in medical oncology.

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