, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 159–164 | Cite as

Role of endothelial progenitors and other bone marrow-derived cells in the development of the tumor vasculature

  • G-One Ahn
  • J. Martin Brown
Original Paper


Increasing evidence suggests the importance of bone marrow-derived cells for blood vessel formation (neovascularization) in tumors, which can occur in 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. Although bone marrow-derived cells are crucial for neovascularization, current evidence suggests a promotional role of these cells on the existing blood vessels rather than de novo neovascularization in tumors. This is believed to be due to the highly proangiogenic features of these cells. The bone marrow-derived cells are heterogeneous, consisting of many different cell types including endothelial progenitor cells, myeloid cells, lymphocytes, and mesenchymal cells. These cells are highly orchestrated under the influence of the specific tumor microenvironment, which varies depending on the tumor type, thereby tightly regulating neovascularization in the tumors. In this review, we highlight some of the recent findings on each of these cell types by outlining some of the essential proangiogenic cytokines that these cells secrete to promote tumor angiogenesis and vasculogenesis.


Angiogenesis Bone marrow-derived cells Endothelial progenitor cells Lymphocytes Monocytes Macrophages Myeloid cells SDF-1 Vasculogenesis VEGF 



This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants CA118202 and CA128873 awarded to JMB. GOA is a recipient of Gary Slezak/American Brain Tumor Association Translational Grant.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cancer and Radiation Biology, Department of Radiation OncologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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