Blood vessel formation plays an essential role in many physiologic and pathologic processes, including normal tissue growth and healing, as well as tumor progression. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) are a subtype of stem cells with high proliferative potential that are capable of differentiating into mature endothelial cells, thus contributing to neovascularization in tumors. In response to tumor-secreted cytokines, EPCs mobilize from the bone marrow to the peripheral blood, home to the tumor site, and differentiate to mature endothelial cells and secrete proangiogenic factors to facilitate vascularization of tumors. In this review, we summarize the expression of surface markers, cytokines, receptors, adhesion molecules, proteases, and cell signaling mechanisms involved in the different steps (mobilization, homing, and differentiation) of EPC trafficking from the bone marrow to the tumor site. Understanding the biologic mechanisms of EPC cell trafficking opens a window for new therapeutic targets in cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research