Anti-angiogenesis and angioprevention: mechanisms, problems and perspectives

Cancer Detect Prev. 2003;27(3):229-38. doi: 10.1016/s0361-090x(03)00030-8.


The recognition that angiogenesis is a key early event in tumor progression and metastasis has led to the development of new strategies for cancer therapy. The generation of a new blood vessel network under physiological conditions is regulated by the concerted action of activators and inhibitors. Perturbation of this balance, as it occurs in solid tumor growth and metastasis, appears to be a critical point in tumorigenesis. This has led to the "angiogenic switch" hypothesis: the point at which a tumor acquires the potential to induce angiogenesis is a critical step towards malignancy. Based on experimental evidence, prevention of blood vessel development appears to be the mechanism of action of many successful chemopreventive drugs of natural or synthetic origin: a novel concept that we termed "angioprevention". The hypothesis that anti-angiogenesis is at the basis of tumor prevention also suggests that many anti-angiogenic drugs could be used for chemoprevention in higher risk populations or in early intervention. There is a growing body of experimental evidence that anti-angiogenic strategies will contribute to the future therapy of cancer, several compounds with anti-angiogenic properties are now under clinical investigation including anti-inflammatory compounds, as inflammation may play a key role in angiogenesis. We must persevere in the development of novel, powerful and safer angiogenesis inhibitors and in the use of anti-angiogenic drugs in combination with other natural or synthetic anti-cancer agents in a biological therapy strategy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors