Blood vessels as targets in tumor therapy
The landmark papers published by Judah Folkman in the early 1970s on tumor angiogenesis and therapeutic implications promoted the rapid development of a very dynamic field where basic scientists, oncologists, and pharmaceutical industry joined forces to determine the molecular mechanisms in blood vessel formation and find means to exploit this knowledge in suppressing tumor vascularization and growth. A wealth of information has been collected on angiogenic growth factors, and in 2004 the first specific blood vessel-targeted cancer therapy was introduced: a neutralizing antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Now (2011) we know that suppression of tumor angiogenesis may be a double-edged sword and that the therapy needs to be further refined and individualized. This review describes the hallmarks of tumor vessels, how different angiogenic growth factors exert their function, and the perspectives for future development of anti-angiogenic therapy.
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