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Biosci Rep. 2014 Nov 4;34(6):e00147. doi: 10.1042/BSR20140075.

The angiogenic asset of soft tissue sarcomas: a new tool to discover new therapeutic targets.

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*Unità Operativa di Anatomia e Istologia Patologica, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Via Gramsci, 14, 43100-Parma, Italy.
†COMT-Centro di Oncologia Medica e Traslazionale, Università di Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 11/A 43100-Parma, Italy.


STS (soft tissue sarcomas) are rare malignant tumours deriving from cells of mesenchymal origin and represent only 1% of all malignant neoplasms. It has been extensively demonstrated that angiogenesis has an important role in cancer malignancy. Particularly, a lot of studies demonstrate the importance of angiogenesis in the development of carcinomas, whereas little is known about the role of angiogenesis in sarcomas and especially in STS. This review aims at summarizing the new discoveries about the nature and the importance of angiogenesis in STS and the new possible therapeutic strategies involved. Only a few studies concerning STS focus on tumour neovascularization and proangiogenic factors and look for a correlation with the patients prognosis/survival. These studies demonstrate that intratumoural MVD (microvessels density) may not accurately represent the angiogenic capacity of STS. Nevertheless, this does not exclude the possibility that angiogenesis could be important in STS. The importance of neoangiogenesis in soft tissue tumours is confirmed by the arising number of publications comparing angiogenesis mediators with clinical features of patients with STS. The efficacy of anti-angiogenic therapies in other types of cancer is well documented. The understanding of the involvement of the angiogenic process in STS, together with the necessity to improve the therapy for this often mortal condition, prompted the exploration of anti-tumour compounds targeting this pathway. In conclusion, this review emphasizes the importance to better understand the mechanisms of angiogenesis in STS in order to subsequently design-specific target therapies for this group of poorly responding tumours.

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