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Volume 10 (2010), Pages 1088-1099
Mini-Review Article

The Role and Therapeutic Potential of Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Tumor Neovascularization

Cellular and Molecular Imaging Laboratory, Department of Radiology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI, USA

Received 3 February 2010; Revised 4 May 2010; Accepted 4 May 2010

Academic Editor: Martin Goette

Copyright © 2010 Branislava Janic and Ali S. Arbab.


Although the cellular and molecular mechanisms of tumor growth and metastasis are not completely understood, it is established that formation and growth of new blood vessels is a conditio sine qua non for tumor survival, growth, and expansion. Numerous studies over the past decades demonstrated that neovascularization associated with tumor growth occurs via angiogenic and vasculogenic mechanisms that involve sprouting angiogenesis, intussusceptive angiogenesis, vessel co-option, vasculogenic mimicry, lymphangiogenesis, and the recruitment of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). Due to their ability to self-renew, circulate, home to the ischemic sites, and differentiate into mature endothelial cells, EPCs hold enormous potential to be used as a diagnostic and/or therapeutic agent in antitumor therapies. Hence, this review focuses on EPCs and their role in tumor angiogenesis with the emphasis on EPC recruitment/migration, and the potential use of EPCs as a therapeutic tool and imaging probe.