. 2019 Mar; 16(8):469-493.
doi: 10.1038/s41571-019-0181-9.

Vessel co-option in cancer

Elizabeth A Kuczynski 1 Peter B Vermeulen 2 Francesco Pezzella 3 Robert S Kerbel 4 Andrew R Reynolds 5 
  • PMID: 30816337
  •     55 citations


All solid tumours require a vascular supply in order to progress. Although the ability to induce angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth) has long been regarded as essential to this purpose, thus far, anti-angiogenic therapies have shown only modest efficacy in patients. Importantly, overshadowed by the literature on tumour angiogenesis is a long-standing, but continually emerging, body of research indicating that tumours can grow instead by hijacking pre-existing blood vessels of the surrounding nonmalignant tissue. This process, termed vessel co-option, is a frequently overlooked mechanism of tumour vascularization that can influence disease progression, metastasis and response to treatment. In this Review, we describe the evidence that tumours located at numerous anatomical sites can exploit vessel co-option. We also discuss the proposed molecular mechanisms involved and the multifaceted implications of vessel co-option for patient outcomes.

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