Angiogenesis and the tumor vasculature as antitumor immune modulators: the role of vascular endothelial growth factor and endothelin

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2011;344:129-48. doi: 10.1007/82_2010_95.


Cancer immunotherapies have yielded promising results in recent years, but new approaches must be utilized if more patients are to experience the benefits of these therapies. Angiogenesis and the tumor endothelium confer unique immune privilege to a growing tumor, with significant effects on diverse immunological processes such as hematopoietic cell maturation, antigen presentation, effector T cell differentiation, cytokine production, adhesion, and T cell homing and extravasation. Here, we review the role of angiogenesis and the tumor endothelium on regulation of the antitumor immune response. We place particular emphasis on the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the suppression of numerous immunological processes that control tumor progression. Further, we describe the unique crosstalk between the VEGF and endothelin systems, and how their interactions may shape the antitumor immune response. These insights establish new targets for combinatorial approaches to modify existing cancer immunotherapies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology
  • Endothelins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tumor Escape
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / physiology*


  • Endothelins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A