The shaping of new blood vessels is a significant event in cancer growth and metastasis. Therefore, the molecular system of cancer angiogenesis has garnered considerable interest in cancer research. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptor pathway are recognized as the key regulators of the angiogenic process. Activation of the VEGF/VEGF-receptor pathway initiates signaling cascades that promote endothelial cell growth, migration, and differentiation. Recently, VEGF was shown to play a role in the recruitment of bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells to neovascularization sites. The role of VEGF in promoting tumor angiogenesis and the occurrence of human cancers has led to the rational design and development of agents that selectively target this pathway. Moreover, these anti-VEGF/VEGF receptor agents show therapeutic potential by inhibition of angiogenesis and tumor growth in preclinical models. In this review, we summarize the role of the VEGF pathway during tumor angiogenesis.
Keywords: Angiogenesis inhibitors; Cell hypoxia; Tumor microenvironment; Vascular endothelial growth factor receptors.