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Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2008 Mar;27(1):31-40.

Inflammation, inflammatory cells and angiogenesis: decisions and indecisions.

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Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, Università degli Studi Dell'Insubria, Via Ottorino Rossi 9, 21100, Varese, Italy.


Endothelial-immune cell cross-talk goes well beyond leukocyte and lymphocyte trafficking, since immune cells are able to intimately regulate vessel formation and function. Here we review the evidence that most immune cells are capable of polarization towards a dichotomous activity either inducing or inhibiting angiogenesis. In addition to the well-known roles of tumor associated macrophages, we find that neutrophils, myeloid-derived suppressor and dendritic cells clearly have the potential for influencing tumor angiogenesis. Further, the physiological functions of NK cells suggest that these cells may also show a potentially important role in pro- or anti-angiogenesis regulation within the tumor microenvironment. At the same time many angiogenic factors influence the activity and function of immune cells that generally favor tumor survival and tolerance. Thus the immune system itself represents a major pharmaceutical target and links angiogenesis inhibition to immunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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