Endothelial Cells in Blood May Help Spread Childhood Cancer

Study finds higher levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells in metastatic disease

THURSDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Endothelial cells and progenitor cells circulating in the blood of pediatric cancer patients may play a role in the inception and progression of metastatic disease, according to a study in the July 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

Melissa Taylor, M.D., of the University of Paris-Sud, and colleagues drew blood from 23 pediatric patients with localized solid tumors, 22 with metastatic solid tumors, and 20 subjects without cancers. The investigators measured circulating vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)2+-bone marrow-derived (BMD) progenitor cells and circulating endothelial cells in the blood.

The investigators found that circulating endothelial cells and endothelial progenitor cells in the blood were significantly higher in cancer patients compared to healthy subjects (1.5 versus 0.3 percent of circulating BMD progenitors), and also higher in patients with metastatic disease compared to localized disease (2.9 versus 0.7 percent of circulating BMD progenitors).

"High levels of circulating VEGFR2+-BMD progenitor cells correlated with metastatic disease. Our study provides novel insights for angiogenesis mechanisms in pediatric solid malignancies for which antiangiogenic targeting of VEGFR2+-BMD progenitors could be of interest," the authors conclude.

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