Angiogenesis is a key process in cancer biology, and justifies focus on the endothelium. Separate studies have looked at different aspects of angiogenesis and vascular biology, primarily focusing on certain laboratory and imaging techniques that generally reflect one particular aspect of the assessment of the endothelium. These techniques include the secretion/release of molecules (such as growth factors) into the plasma, by the presence of mature and progenitor endothelial cells themselves in the circulation, but also by examination of peripheral blood flow and the local circulation of the tumour, and cells of the tumour itself. However, a limitation of this approach is that these methods, although themselves being useful, have often been viewed in isolation and thus can provide only a part of the vascular picture. The authors submit that this approach is weak, and introduce ‘the angiome’ as a term which fuses several different aspects of endothelial and tumour biology into a single concept. The authors suggest that the adoption of the concept of the angiome will bring improved insights into angiogenesis and thus cancer cell biology. In justifying this concept, the authors review the current understanding of endothelial biology and the methods of its assessment, and hypothesise that a more multifactorial approach to the angiome will be a crucial determinant of outcomes of and treatment strategies for diseases, in particular antiangiogenics for cancer therapy.
- circulating endothelial cells
- circulating progenitor cells
- blood vessels
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.