Targeting the tumor blood vessel network to enhance the efficacy of radiation therapy

Semin Radiat Oncol. 2003 Jan;13(1):53-61. doi: 10.1053/srao.2003.50005.


It has been well established that the vascularization of solid tumors is a prerequisite if a clinically relevant size is to be reached. For progressive tumor growth, the vessel network must continuously expand to satisfy the neoplastic cells' nutritional needs and waste product removal requirements. This utter reliance of the tumor on its vasculature provides a logical target for new approaches to cancer therapy. Indeed, there currently exists a great deal of enthusiasm for the development of interventions that compromise the growth and/or function of the tumor neovasculature. Two primary directions are being pursued. Inhibitors of angiogenesis seek to interrupt the angiogenic process to prevent new vessel formation. Antivascular approaches aim to cause direct damage to the tumor endothelium and thus lead to extensive secondary neoplastic cell death. The application of such strategies as adjuvants to conventional radiation treatments offers unique opportunities to develop more effective cancer therapies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Neoplasms, Vascular Tissue / blood supply
  • Neoplasms, Vascular Tissue / radiotherapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / radiotherapy
  • Treatment Outcome