, Volume 78, Issue 3, pp 281-293
Date: 23 Mar 2006

Mechanisms of angiogenesis in gliomas

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Gliomas are the most frequent primary tumors of the central nervous system in adults. Glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of astrocytic tumors, displays a rapid progression that is accompanied by particular poor prognosis of patients. Intense angiogenesis is a distinguishing pathologic characteristic of these tumors and in fact, glioblastomas are of the most highly vascularized malignant tumors. For this reason, research and therapy strategies have focused on understanding the mechanisms leading to the origin of tumor angiogenic blood vessels in order to develop new approaches that effectively block angiogenesis and cause tumor regression. We discuss here some important features of glioma angiogenesis and we present molecules and factors and their possible functions and interactions that play a role in neovascularization. In spite of the great progress that molecular biology has achieved on investigating tumor angiogenesis, many aspects remain obscure and the complexity of the angiogenic process stands for an obstacle in identifying the exact and complete molecular pathways orchestrating new blood vessels formation, which are necessary for the survival and expansion of these tumors.