Regulation of endothelial cell integrin function and angiogenesis by COX-2, cAMP and Protein Kinase A

Thromb Haemost. 2003 Oct;90(4):577-85. doi: 10.1160/TH03-03-0196.


Angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels from preexisting vessels, is a key step in tumor growth, invasion and metastasis formation. Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis is considered as an attractive approach to suppress cancer progression and spreading. Adhesion receptors of the integrin family promote tumor angiogenesis by mediating cell migration, proliferation and survival of angiogenic endothelial cells. Integrins up regulated and highly expressed on neovascular endothelial cells, such as alphaVbeta3 and alpha5beta1, have been considered as relevant targets for anti-angiogenic therapies. Small molecular integrin antagonists or blocking antibodies suppress angiogenesis and tumor progression in many animal models, and some of them are currently being tested in cancer clinical trials as anti-angiogenic agents. COX-2 inhibitors exert anti-cancer effects, at least in part, by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis. We have recently shown that COX-2 inhibitors suppress endothelial cell migration and angiogenesis by preventing alphaVbeta3-mediated and cAMP/PKA-dependent activation of the small GTPases Rac and Cdc42. Here we will review the evidence for the involvement of vascular integrins in mediating angiogenesis and the role of COX-2 metabolites in modulating the cAMP/Protein Kinase A pathway and alphaVbeta3-dependent Rac activation in endothelial cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cyclic AMP / pharmacology
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / pharmacology
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Humans
  • Integrins / drug effects*
  • Integrins / physiology
  • Isoenzymes / pharmacology
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / pharmacology


  • Integrins
  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases