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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2011 Feb;50(2):290-5. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2010.10.024. Epub 2010 Nov 1.

Stem cells in tumor angiogenesis.

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Molecular Cancer Biology Program & Department of Pathology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Contribution from diverse tissue-specific stem cell types is required to create the cell populations necessary for the activation of angiogenesis and neovascular growth in cancer. Bone marrow (BM)-derived circulating endothelial progenitors (EPCs) that would differentiate to bona fide endothelial cells (ECs) were previously believed to be necessary for tumor angiogenesis. However, numerous recent studies demonstrate that EPCs are not needed for tumor angiogenesis and indicate EPCs to be artifactual rather than physiological. It is evident that tumor infiltrating hematopoietic cells produced by BM-residing hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) may contribute to tumor angiogenesis in a paracrine manner by stimulating ECs or by remodeling the extracellular matrix. Therefore, identification of the various hematopoietic cell subpopulations that are critical for tumor angiogenesis and better understanding of their proangiogenic functions and mechanisms of action have potential therapeutic significance. Stem and progenitor cell subsets for also other vascular or perivascular cell types such as pericytes or mesenchymal/stromal cells may provide critical contributions to the growing neovasculature. Furthermore, we hypothesize that the existence of a yet undiscovered-and largely unsearched-tissue-specific adult vascular endothelial stem cell (VESC) would provide completely novel targeted approaches to block pathological angiogenesis and cancer growth. This article is part of a special issue entitled, "Cardiovascular Stem Cells Revisited".

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