Overview of angiogenesis: Biologic implications for antiangiogenic therapy

Semin Oncol. 2001 Oct;28(5 Suppl 16):94-104. doi: 10.1016/s0093-7754(01)90287-8.


Tumor angiogenesis is essential for the growth of primary and metastatic tumors. This process requires the coordinated activities of multiple factors and cell types. For tumors to develop a neovascular blood supply, tumor cells and host cells must secrete proangiogenic factors that offset the activities of inhibitory angiogenic factors. In addition, the newly derived tumor endothelium must respond to signals in the microenvironment to survive under conditions such as hypoxia and acidity. Moreover, because the process of angiogenesis is regulated by redundant factors and pathways, inhibition of any single pathway is likely to select for cells whose angiogenesis is driven by other factors. Because antiangiogenic therapy is unlikely to induce tumor regression, the criteria for efficacy must be evaluated by means other than the standard criteria used to evaluate cytotoxic chemotherapy. Understanding the basic principles that drive tumor angiogenesis will lead to the development of therapies that will likely prolong survival without the toxicity associated with standard chemotherapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Endothelium, Vascular
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors