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Histol Histopathol. 2008 Jun;23(6):773-80. doi: 10.14670/HH-23.773.

Tie2: a journey from normal angiogenesis to cancer and beyond.

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Department of Neuro-Oncology, Brain Tumor Center, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


The tyrosine kinase receptor Tie2 was initially identified as a specific vascular growth factor that governed several properties of endothelial cells under both physiological and pathological conditions. It was subsequently found that angiopoietins, the natural ligands of Tie2, modulate Tie2-dependent signaling, which in turn regulates the survival and apoptosis of endothelial cells, controls vascular permeability, and regulates the capillary sprouting that occurs during normal angiogenesis such as through development and ovarian remodeling. Tie2 also seems to play a crucial role in several vascular abnormalities, such as familial venous malformations. Beyond its critical role in angiogenesis, Tie2 also appears to maintain the long-term population and quiescent status of hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow stem cell niche. In cancer, Tie2 was originally found to be overexpressed in tumoral vessels. More recently, our laboratory and others have found that Tie2 is also expressed outside the vascular compartment in several types of cancer, including leukemia and solid neoplasms such as gastric tumors, breast tumors, and gliomas. The role of Tie2 in these tumoral cells is currently being explored. In this regard, our group reported the importance of Tie2-expressing glioma cells in their adhesion to the tumoral microenvironment. Because cancer may be considered as a complex organ with several cellular lineages coexisting in the same tumor, the expression of Tie2 by different tumoral compartments makes this cellular receptor an attractive target for cancer therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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