The role of the hemostatic system in tumor growth, metastasis, and angiogenesis: tissue factor is a bifunctional molecule capable of inducing both fibrin deposition and angiogenesis in cancer

Int J Hematol. 2001 Feb;73(2):145-50. doi: 10.1007/BF02981930.


Cancer patients are prone to venous thromboembolism (VTE), and this hypercoagulability favors tumor growth and metastasis. After a brief review of the clinical aspects of VTE and cancer, we discuss the pathogenesis of hypercoagulability with an emphasis on the role of tissue factor (TF). The discovery that, in addition to tumor cells, TF is expressed by tumor-associated macrophages and tumor-associated endothelial cells led to studies of the role of TF in the regulation of tumor angiogenesis. In human lung cancer, melanoma, and breast cancer, TF and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) co-localize in tumor cells; a close correlation exists between TF and VEGF synthesis (P = .001) in tumor cell lines and with angiogenesis in vivo in a severe, combined immunodeficient mouse model. Transfection of a TF/VEGF low-producing human tumor cell line with full length TF complementary DNA (cDNA) results in conversion to a high producer of TF and VEGF; transfection of a deletion-mutant TF cDNA lacking cytoplasmic serine residues restores full TF procoagulant activity but not VEGF synthesis to the cells. These results suggest that the cytoplasmic tail of TF is necessary for tumor cell VEGF synthesis. Targeting of TF in tumors and tumor-associated blood vessels is discussed as a strategy for drug delivery and rational anti-cancer and anti-angiogenesis drug design.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Fibrin / drug effects
  • Fibrin / metabolism
  • Hemostatics / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / chemically induced
  • Thromboplastin / pharmacology


  • Hemostatics
  • Fibrin
  • Thromboplastin