‘Brain tumors called astrocytomas depend on new blood vessel formation for growing and spreading. Making drugs that target the cells that participate in blood vessel formation could prevent astrocytoma growth.’
EPCs are circulating cells that participate in new blood
vessel formation and adhere to the inner linings of blood vessels.
are the most common primary brain
and spinal cord tumors that originate from a type of cell called an astrocyte.
Astrocytes insulate and provide structure for nerve fibers. They can occur in both adults and children. They
can be low grade (slow growing) or high grade/malignant (fast-growing)
and are named grades I to IV according to their
Among the four grades of astrocytomas, grade IV astrocytomas
are the most aggressive; they are highly invasive and almost always fatal.
Another important fact to note is that the astrocytomas with lower aggression
are typically found in younger people while those tumors that are more
aggressive are more often seen in older adults.
depend on new blood vessel formation to grow and spread; in other words, they
rely upon EPCs to proliferate.
research team investigated the
association between EPCs that were present in brain tumor tissues and the ones
in normal adjacent tissues in relation with age and grade of astrocytomas.
EPCs change with Increasing Grades of Astrocytomas?
The team of scientists obtained brain
tissue and normal adjacent brain tissue samples during surgery
from 22 astrocytoma patients with grade I to grade IV tumors at the Hospital of University Sains Malaysia. The severity of the
disease in the patients increased as they got older.
Compared to the surrounding healthy tissue, the numbers of
EPCs inside the tumor tissues were
higher and increased with age
and with higher tumor grade.
Earlier studies have shown that
- Patients with grades III and IV astrocytomas who
underwent radiotherapy or chemotherapy showed a reduction in the
number of circulating EPCs
- Grades III and IV astrocytoma patients who did not
undergo treatment had higher numbers of circulating EPCs than healthy
- Significantly reducing EPCs led to impaired and delayed
growth in tumors which was followed by a reduction in the number of blood
vessels feeding them
The research team concluded that astrocytoma growth could be prevented by
giving appropriate drug
doses targeting the new blood vessel forming cells, according to age and tumor grade.
- Priscilla Das, Nyi Nyi Naing, Nadiah Wan-Arfah, KON Noorjan, Yee Cheng Kueh and Kantha Rasalingam., "Increased Endothelial Progenitor Cells with Age and Grade of Malignancy in Astrocytic Glioma Patients" (2018) Science & Technology.
- Yoder MC. Human Endothelial Progenitor Cells. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. 2012;2(7):a006692. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a006692.
- Glioma in adults - (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/brain-tumours/types/glioma-adults)