Host microenvironment in breast cancer development: inflammatory and immune cells in tumour angiogenesis and arteriogenesis

Breast Cancer Res. 2003;5(2):83-8. doi: 10.1186/bcr573. Epub 2003 Feb 3.


Breast cancer progression is associated with and dependent upon robust neovascularization. It is becoming clear that tumour-associated 'normal' cells, such as immune/inflammatory cells, endothelial cells and stromal cells, conspire with cancer cells in promoting this process. In particular, infiltrating immune/inflammatory cells secrete a diverse repertoire of growth factors and proteases that enable them to enhance tumour growth by stimulating angiogenesis and, as we suggest here, by promoting 'tumour arteriogenesis' - enlargement of feeding vessels supplying the expanding tumour capillary bed. Macrophages and their chemoattractants (e.g. macrophage chemoattractant protein-1) are critical for the arteriogenic process in ischaemia, and probably also in breast neoplasia. A better understanding of these various cellular and molecular constituents of breast cancer neovascularization may be useful in designing more effective therapies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Lymphokines / metabolism
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lymphokines
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor