The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 55: 527 - 534 (2011)

Vol 55, Issue 4-5

Special Issue: Angiogenesis in Development & Cancer

Emerging paradigms and questions on pro-angiogenic bone marrow-derived myelomonocytic cells

Review | Published: 11 July 2011

Julien Laurent1, Cédric Touvrey1, Francesca Botta1, François Kuonen1,2 and Curzio Ruegg1,2,3,*

1Division of Experimental Oncology (DEO), Centre Pluridiscipliniaire d'Oncologie (CePO), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) and Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne (UNIL), Lausanne, 2National Center for Competence in Research (NCCR) Molecular Oncology, Swiss Institute of Experimental Cancer Research, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (ISREC-EPFL), Lausanne and 3Department of Medicine, Faculty of Science, University of Fribourg (UNIFR), Fribourg, Switzerland


Cancer-related inflammation has emerged in recent years as a major event contributing to tumor angiogenesis, tumor progression and metastasis formation. Bone marrow-derived and inflammatory cells promote tumor angiogenesis by providing endothelial progenitor cells that differentiate into mature endothelial cells, and by secreting pro-angiogenic factors and remodeling the extracellular matrix to stimulate angiogenesis though paracrine mechanisms. Several bone marrow-derived myelonomocytic cells, including monocytes and macrophages, have been identified and characterized by several laboratories in recent years. While the central role of these cells in promoting tumor angiogenesis, tumor progression and metastasis is nowadays well established, many questions remain open and new ones are emerging. These include the relationship between their phenotype and function, the mechanisms of pro-angiogenic programming, their contribution to resistance to anti-angiogenic treatments and to metastasis and their potential clinical use as biomarkers of angiogenesis and anti-angiogenic therapies. Here, we will review phenotypical and functional aspects of bone marrow-derived myelonomocytic cells and discuss some of the current outstanding questions.


angiogenesis, cancer, bone marrow-derived cell, myelomonocytic cell, inflammation

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