Bone marrow is a reservoir for proangiogenic myelomonocytic cells but not endothelial cells in spontaneous tumors

Blood. 2010 Oct 28;116(17):3367-71. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-02-271122. Epub 2010 May 7.


The hypothesis that bone marrow-derived, circulating endothelial cells incorporate into tumor blood vessels is unresolved. We have measured the numbers of bone marrow-derived versus resident endothelial cells in spontaneous prostate cancers during different stages of tumor progression and in age-matched normal prostates. Bone marrow-derived endothelial cells were rare in dysplasia and in well differentiated cancers representing between 0 and 0.04% of the total tumor mass. Instead, approximately 99% of all tumor-associated bone marrow-derived cells were CD45(+) hematopoietic cells, including GR-1(+), F4-80(+), and CD11b(+) myeloid cells. Similar to peripheral blood mononuclear cells, these tumor-associated myeloid cells expressed matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), consistent with their proposed catalytic role during tumor angiogenesis. Furthermore, freshly isolated CD11b(+) cells stimulated tumor endothelial cell cord formation by 10-fold in an in vitro angiogenesis assay. The bone marrow is, therefore, a reservoir for cells that augment tumor angiogenesis, but the tumor endothelium is derived primarily from the local environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Myeloid Cells / immunology
  • Myeloid Cells / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Prostate / cytology
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Leukocyte Common Antigens