Endothelial cell survival and apoptosis in the tumor vasculature

Apoptosis. 2000 Oct;5(4):323-8. doi: 10.1023/a:1009679307513.


Angiogenesis is essential for the growth and metastasis of solid tumors. The balance of endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and apoptosis is a major determinant in tumor angiogenesis. Recently, several studies demonstrated that numerous angiogenic factors not only induce angiogenesis but also function as EC survival factors. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent angiogenic factor, is also an EC survival factor in embryonic vasculogenesis and tumor angiogenesis. VEGF activates specific intracellular survival pathways in ECs including Bcl-2, A1, IAP, Akt, and Erk. Integrins may function as EC survival factors by preventing anoikis by enhancing binding to the extracellular matrix. In addition, integrins may function in concert with VEGF to promote EC survival. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) has recently been shown to stabilize EC networks by binding to the EC-specific tyrosine kinase receptor Tie-2. Pericytes also function as EC survival factors, by cell-cell contact, secretion of survival factors, or both. Targeting any of the above mechanisms for EC survival may provide novel antineoplastic strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiopoietin-1
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cell Survival
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Integrins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Lymphokines / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Pericytes / metabolism
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptor, TIE-2
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Angiopoietin-1
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Integrins
  • Lymphokines
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor, TIE-2