, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 187-193
Date: 06 Mar 2009

Semaphorins and tumor angiogenesis

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Semaphorins belong to a large family of proteins well-conserved along evolution from viruses to mammalians. Secreted and membrane-bound semaphorins participate in a wide range of biological phenomena including development and regeneration of nervous system, cardiovascular development, and immune system activities. Different classes of semaphorins are bifunctional and often exert opposite effects (i.e., repellent or attractive) by acting through the plexin receptor family. However, some classes use other membrane receptors and the same plexin-mediated signals may be modulated by co-receptors, in particular neuropilins or some tyrosine kinase receptors. In cancer, semaphorins have both tumor-suppressor and tumor-promoting functions, by acting on both tumor and stromal components. Here, we review the role of semaphorins in tumor angiogenesis and propose that an unbalance between autocrine loops respectively involving angiogenic inducers and class 3 semaphorin is instrumental for structural and functional abnormalities observed in tumor vasculature.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10456-009-9149-1