Angiogenesis and cancer prevention: a vision

Recent Results Cancer Res. 2007:174:219-24. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-37696-5_19.


Angiogenesis is necessary for solid tumor growth and dissemination. In addition to angiogenesis, it has become increasingly clear that inflammation is a key component in cancer insurgence that can promote tumor angiogenesis. We noted that angiogenesis is a common and key target of most chemopreventive molecules, where they most likely suppress the angiogenic switch in premalignant tumors, a concept we termed angioprevention. We have shown that various molecules, such as flavonoids, antioxidants, and retinoids, act in the tumor microenvironment, inhibiting the recruitment and/or activation of endothelial cells and phagocytes of the innate immunity. N-acetyl-cysteine, and the green tea flavonoid epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and the beer/ hops-derived chalcone Xanthohumol all prevent angiogenesis in the Matrigel sponge angiogenic assay in vivo and inhibit the growth of the highly angiogenic Kaposi's sarcoma tumor cells (KS-Imm) in nude mice. The synthetic retinoid 4-hydroxyfenretinide (4HPR) also shows anti-angiogenic effects. We analyzed the regulation of gene expression they exert in primary human umbilical endothelial cells (HUVEC) in culture with functional genomics. Expression profiles obtained through Affymetrix GeneChip arrays identified overlapping sets of genes regulated by anti-oxidants. In contrast, the ROS-producing 4HPR induced members of the TGFbeta-ligand superfamily, which, at least in part, explains its anti-angiogenic activity. NAC and the flavonoids all suppressed the IkB/NF-kappaB signaling pathway even in the presence of NF-kappaB stimulation by TNFalpha, and showed reduced expression of many NF-kappaB target genes. A selective apoptotic effect on transformed cells, but not on endothelial cells, of the anti-oxidants may be related to the reduced expression of the NF-kappaB-dependent survival factors Bcl2 and Birc5/surviving, which are selectively overexpressed in transformed cells by these factors. The repression of the NF-kappaB pathway suggests anti-inflammatory effects for the antioxidant compounds that may also represent an indirect role in angiogenesis inhibition. The green tea flavonoid EGCG does target inflammatory cells, mostly neutrophils, and inhibits inflammation-associated angiogenesis. The other angiopreventive molecules are turning out to be effective modulators of phagocyte recruitment and activation, further linking inflammation and vascularization to tumor onset and progression and providing a key target for cancer prevention.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents