Molecular links between tumor angiogenesis and inflammation: inflammatory stimuli of macrophages and cancer cells as targets for therapeutic strategy

Cancer Sci. 2008 Aug;99(8):1501-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2008.00853.x.


Both inflammation and angiogenesis are exacerbated by increased production of chemokines/cytokines, growth factors, proteolytic enzymes, proteoglycans, lipid mediators and prostaglandins. It has been reported that approximately 15-20% of all malignancies are initiated or exacerbated by inflammation. Initiation and progression of cancer are also closely linked to angiogenesis. Infiltration of macrophages is a dramatic and common feature of inflammation, angiogenesis and cancer, and has been recently highlighted in an attempt to develop novel strategies for treating cancer. The recruitment and infiltration of macrophages in the tumor microenvironment activates them to support the malignant progression of cancer cells, and these macrophages are called tumor-associated macrophages. In a model of experimental angiogenesis using mouse corneas, macrophages infiltrated tissue in response to inflammatory cytokines and produced chemokines and angiogenesis-promoting factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor-A, interleukin-8, matrix metalloproteinases, prostanoids and reactive oxygen species. Moreover, in a cancer xenograft model, inflammatory stimuli by a representative inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-1beta, enhanced tumor growth and angiogenesis with infiltration and activation of macrophages. Co-culture of cancer cells with macrophages synergistically stimulated production of various angiogenesis-related factors when stimulated by the inflammatory cytokine. This inflammatory angiogenesis in both mouse cornea and a tumor model was mediated, in part, by activation of nuclear factor kappaB and activator protein 1 (Jun/Fos). Administration of either nuclear factor kappaB-targeting drugs or cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors or depletion of macrophages could block both inflammatory angiogenesis and tumor angiogenesis. Thus, both inflammatory and angiogenic responses in tumor stroma could be targets for development of anticancer therapeutic drugs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokines
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / immunology*
  • Prostaglandins / biosynthesis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / biosynthesis


  • Chemokines
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-8
  • NF-kappa B
  • Prostaglandins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases