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Keywords:

  • Tumor;
  • Angiogenesis;
  • Stem cells;
  • Adult stem cells;
  • Mesenchymal stem cells;
  • Bone marrow;
  • Tumor stroma;
  • Hematopoietic stem cells;
  • Endothelial progenitor cells;
  • Tumor microenvironment

Abstract

Solid tumors are complex “organs” of cancer cells and a heterogeneous population of hematopoietic cells, mesenchymal cells, and endothelial cells. The cancer stem cell model proposes that tumor growth and progression is driven by rare populations of cancer stem cells; however, nontumor-forming stem and progenitor cells are also present within the tumor microenvironment. These adult stem cells do not form tumors when injected into experimental animals, but they may augment tumor growth through juxtacrine and paracrine regulation of tumor cells and by contributing to neovascularization. Thus, cancer cells may actively co-opt nontumor-forming stem cells distally from the bone marrow or proximally from nearby tissue and subvert their abilities to differentiate and maintain tissue growth, repair, and angiogenesis. This review will cover the roles of nontumor-forming vascular stem cells in tumor growth and angiogenesis. STEM CELLS 2011;29:163–168