Following up tumour angiogenesis: from the basic laboratory to the clinic.
ABSTRACT Preceded by three decades of intense basic research on tumour angiogenesis, we are assisting to the translation of anti-antiangiogenic therapies as medical oncologists are increasingly using pioneering anti-angiogenic drugs in combination with standard treatments. While basic knowledge in the field of angiogenesis is reaching maturity and our level of understanding of the complex process of vessel development and growth in health and disease has been enriched at the molecular and cellular levels, the translation of this knowledge to the clinic is still in its infancy. Identifying the most suitable drugs, and the optimal dosage and schedule, as well as monitoring patients' responses to anti-angiogenic therapy, remain challenging issues that currently limit the benefit of this new therapeutic approach in cancer. This review will focus on a comprehensive description of the experimental assays in which angiogenesis research has been founded and how the different assays complement and provide relevant information for the task of characterising the angiogenic properties of diverse tumours, giving us a variety of tools to follow up tumour angiogenesis in research models. Following up tumour angiogenesis in patients and their response to antiangiogenic therapy is a more challenging task that will benefit in the near future from the use of non-invasive imaging methods as well as molecular and cellular biomarkers of angiogenesis suitable for clinical oncology. As both the design of the anti-angiogenic therapies and monitoring of the response are improved in the coming years to properly tailor them to the angiogenic profile of every patient, we hope to achieve increasing response and benefit of including antiangiogenic drugs as standard in cancer therapy.