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Int J Exp Pathol. 2009 Jun;90(3):222-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2613.2009.00641.x.

Neutrophils: key mediators of tumour angiogenesis.

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Tumour Targeting Group, Academic Unit of Pathology, Medical School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.


It is now well known that most malignant tumours contain a significant amount of leucocytic infiltrates the presence of which has, on many occasions, been linked to poor patient prognosis. These leucocyte populations are recruited to tumours by chemotactic factors released by either viable or necrotic tumour cells, or by cells within the tumour stroma. In recent times, most studies have analysed the role that tumour-associated macrophages (TAM) have on tumour progression. However, there is now increasing evidence to show that neutrophils also actively participate in this process. Whilst there are some data to suggest that neutrophil-derived factors can promote genetic mutations leading to tumourigenesis, or secrete factors that promote tumour cell proliferation; there is now substantial evidence to show that neutrophils, like TAM, significantly affect tumour angiogenesis. In this review, we discuss the likely mechanisms by which neutrophils are recruited into the tumour and then elaborate on how these cells may induce tumour vascularization by the secretion of powerful pro-angiogenic factors. We also discuss possible future chemotherapeutic strategies that are aimed at limiting tumour angiogenesis by inhibiting neutrophil recruitment.

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