Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 9, pp 12743–12753 | Cite as

From glioblastoma to endothelial cells through extracellular vesicles: messages for angiogenesis

  • Ilaria Giusti
  • Simona Delle Monache
  • Marianna Di Francesco
  • Patrizia Sanità
  • Sandra D’Ascenzo
  • Giovanni Luca Gravina
  • Claudio Festuccia
  • Vincenza DoloEmail author
Original Article


Glioblastoma has one of the highest mortality rates among cancers, and it is the most common and malignant form of brain cancer. Among the typical features of glioblastoma tumors, there is an aberrant vascularization: all gliomas are among the most vascularized/angiogenic tumors. In recent years, it has become clear that glioblastoma cells can secrete extracellular vesicles which are spherical and membrane-enclosed particles released, in vitro or in vivo, by both normal and tumor cells; they are involved in the regulation of both physiological and pathological processes; among the latter, cancer is the most widely studied. Extracellular vesicles from tumor cells convey messages to other tumor cells, but also to normal stromal cells in order to create a microenvironment that supports cancer growth and progression and are implicated in drug resistance, escape from immunosurveillance and from apoptosis, as well as in metastasis formation; they are also involved in angiogenesis stimulation, inducing endothelial cells proliferation, and other pro-angiogenic activities. To this aim, the present paper assesses in detail the extracellular vesicles phenomenon in the human glioblastoma cell line U251 and evaluates extracellular vesicles ability to promote the processes required to achieve the formation of new blood vessels in human brain microvascular endothelial cells, highlighting that they stimulate proliferation, motility, and tube formation in a dose-response manner. Moreover, a molecular characterization shows that extracellular vesicles are fully equipped for angiogenesis stimulation in terms of proteolytic enzymes (gelatinases and plasminogen activators), pro-angiogenic growth factors (VEGF and TGFβ), and the promoting-angiogenic CXCR4 chemokine receptor.


Extracellular vesicles Human glioblastoma U251 cells Angiogenesis CXCR4 Endothelial cells 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilaria Giusti
    • 1
  • Simona Delle Monache
    • 2
  • Marianna Di Francesco
    • 1
  • Patrizia Sanità
    • 2
  • Sandra D’Ascenzo
    • 1
  • Giovanni Luca Gravina
    • 2
  • Claudio Festuccia
    • 2
  • Vincenza Dolo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Life, Health and Environmental SciencesUniversity of L’AquilaL’AquilaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Applied Clinical Sciences and BiotechnologiesUniversity of L’AquilaL’AquilaItaly

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