Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is not to provide an extensive overview of well-established mechanisms of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis but rather to highlight several recent key studies that constituted a significant conceptual or medical advancement to the field during the past year or so. The authors apologize for their inability, because of space restrictions, to reference all other relevant work of the past or previous years.
Recent findings: In 1993, fewer than 400 studies on angiogenesis were published. During the past year alone, more than 4000 angiogenesis studies were reported, making angiogenesis one of the most rapidly growing fields. Moreover, the first studies on lymphangiogenesis were published only a couple of years ago. A milestone in the field in the past year has been the first successful report that the angiogenesis inhibitor bevacizumab (Avastin), an antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor, prolonged the survival of colorectal and renal cancer patients in phase 3 clinical trials. This remarkable achievement provides great promise and hope for the future development of therapeutic strategies to inhibit or stimulate angiogenesis.
Summary: The intensive search for antiangiogenic and proangiogenic mechanisms during the past decade is starting to translate into clinical promise. Further discovery of novel pathways and concepts in angiogenesis may lead to the optimization and refinement of current strategies to improve the clinical benefit and therapeutic safety for a vast number of patients with angiogenesis-related disease.