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Abstract

Angiogenesis is central to both the growth and metastasis of solid tumours. Anti-angiogenic strategies result in blood vessel regression accompanied by tumour cell apoptosis. Radiotherapy and many chemotherapeutic agents kill tumours by inducing apoptotic cell death. We propose that, in addition to its role as an angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) can act as a survival factor for tumour cells protecting them from apoptosis. Thus anti-angiogenics, in particular those directed against VEGF, have multiple anti-tumour effects. We suggest that anti-VEGF strategies prevent vessel growth and block a tumour cell survival factor, VEGF, rendering tumour cells more sensitive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In addition, as chemotherapy and radiotherapy have been shown to increase VEGF expression, anti-VEGF strategies may overcome therapy- induced tumour cell resistance. BioEssays 24:280–283, 2002. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.; DOI 10.1002/bies.10043