CD105 is important for angiogenesis: evidence and potential applications

FASEB J. 2003 Jun;17(9):984-92. doi: 10.1096/fj.02-0634rev.


Angiogenesis is the propelling force for tumor growth and metastasis, and antiangiogenic therapy represents one of the most promising modalities for cancer treatment. CD105 (endoglin) is a proliferation-associated and hypoxia-inducible protein abundantly expressed in angiogenic endothelial cells (EC). It is a receptor for transforming growth factor (TGF) -beta1 and -beta3 and modulates TGF-beta signaling by interacting with TGF-beta receptors I and/or II. Immunohistochemistry studies have revealed that CD105 is strongly expressed in blood vessels of tumor tissues. Intratumoral microvessel density (MVD) determined using antibodies to CD105 has been found to be an independent prognostic indicator, wherein increased MVD correlates with shorter survival. CD105 is able to be shed into the circulation, with elevated levels detected in patients with various types of cancer and positively correlated with tumor metastasis. Tangible evidence of its proangiogenic role comes from knockout studies in which CD105 null mice die in utero as a result of impaired angiogenesis in the yolk sac and heart defects. The potential usefulness of CD105 for tumor imaging has been evaluated in tumor-bearing mice and dogs that have shown the rapid accumulation of radiolabeled anti-CD105 monoclonal antibody in the tumors with a high tumor-to-background ratio. The anti-CD105 antibody conjugated with immunotoxins and immunoradioisotopes efficiently suppressed/abrogated tumor growth in murine models bearing breast and colon carcinoma without any significant systemic side effects. Immunoscintigraphy in patients with renal cell carcinomas has shown specific localization of 99Tcm-labeled CD105 mab in tumor endothelial cells. Thus, CD105 is a promising vascular target that can be used for tumor imaging, prognosis, and bears therapeutic potential in patients with solid tumors and other angiogenic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Endoglin
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Radioimmunodetection
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Signal Transduction
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / genetics
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / analysis
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / physiology*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antigens, CD
  • ENG protein, human
  • Endoglin
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1