As tumors require blood to emerge and spread, targeting blood vessel cells known as pericytes and vascular growth factors, called angiopoietin-2 (ANG2), responsible for cell death, may offer a potential new therapeutic approach for treatment of some cancers, revealed scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Researchers looked at how cellular signaling by ANG2, when combined with depletion of pericytes, may decrease breast cancer tumor growth that spreads to the lungs. Study lead Valerie LeBleu said, "Our study showed that angipoietin signaling is a key metastasis promoting pathway associated with abnormal tumor blood vessels with poor pericytes coverage. When combined with pericyte loss during the late phases of tumor progression, it is possible to reduce both primary tumor growth and metastatic disease."
LeBleu said, "Targeting of ANG2 signaling in tumors with abnormal blood vessels with low pericyte coverage appeared to restore vascular stability and decreased tumor growth and metastasis in lung cancer mouse models. We also found that ANG2 was tied to poor outcome in patients with breast cancer. These results emphasize the potential for therapies targeting in advanced tumors with poor quality blood vessels."
The study findings appear online in 'Cell Reports'.