, Volume 120, Issue 1, pp 17-24
Date: 24 Dec 2009

Role of endothelial progenitor cells in breast cancer angiogenesis: from fundamental research to clinical ramifications

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Abstract

Blood vessel formation (neovascularization) in tumors can occur through two mechanisms: angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. Angiogenesis results from proliferation and sprouting of existing blood vessels close to the tumor, while vasculogenesis is believed to arise from recruitment of circulating cells, largely derived from the bone marrow, and de novo clonal formation of blood vessels from these cells. Increasing evidence in animal models indicate that bone marrow-derived endothelial precursor cells (EPC) can contribute to tumor angiogenesis. This review aims to collate existing literature and provide an overview on the current knowledge of EPC involvement in breast cancer angiogenesis. We also discuss recent attempts to use EPC as biomarker and therapeutic target in clinical trials.