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Studies over the past 20 years have established that the development of new capillaries from an existing vascular network (a process called angiogenesis) is an essential component of tumor growth. Malignant tumors do not grow beyond 2-3 mm3 in size unless they stimulate the formation of new blood vessels and thus provide a route for the increased inflow of nutrients and oxygen and outflow of waste products. Tumor angiogenesis also provides an essential exit route for metastasizing tumor cells from the tumor to the bloodstream. Indeed, extensive neovascularization is a poor prognostic factor in several forms of human cancer. Angiogenesis is a complex, multistep process driven by many local signals within the tumor. This involves the degradation of the extracellular matrix around a local venule after the release of collagenases and proteases, the proliferation and migration of capillary endothelial cells, and their differentiation into functioning capillaries. Cytokines produced by various cell types present within the microenvironment of solid tumors form a complex, dynamic network in which they have multiple effects on tumor progression. Herein we review our work on the presence, and possible regulatory influence on tumor angiogenesis, of a number of these cytokines within invasive breast carcinomas. We have combined immunocytochemistry with a single cell cytokine release assay called the reverse hemolytic plaque assay to investigate the cellular sources of the key angiogenic cytokines, vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Tumor-associated macrophages in the stromal compartment of these tumors and/or malignant epithelial cells were seen to be a major producer cell for these cytokines, whereas tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptors were expressed by leukocytes, malignant cells, and endothelial cells in tumor blood vessels.


Conference paper

Publication Date





747 - 751


Antigens, CD, Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic, Breast Neoplasms, Cell Adhesion Molecules, Cytokines, Endothelial Growth Factors, Fibroblast Growth Factor 2, Humans, Lymphokines, Macrophages, Neovascularization, Pathologic, Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors