Deregulated angiogenesis has been identified as a key contributor in a number of pathological conditions including cancer. It is a complex process, which involves highly regulated interaction of multiple signalling molecules. The pro-angiogenic signalling molecule, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its cognate receptor 2 (VEGFR-2), which is often highly expressed in majority of human cancers, plays a central role in tumour angiogenesis. Owing to the importance of tumour vasculature in carcinogenesis, tumour blood vessels have emerged as an excellent therapeutic target. The anti-angiogenic therapies have been shown to arrest growth of solid tumours through multiple mechanisms, halting the expansion of tumour vasculature and transient normalization of tumour vasculature which help in the improvement of blood flow resulting in more uniform delivery of cytotoxic agents to the core of tumour mass. This also helps in reduction of hypoxia and interstitial pressure leading to reduced chemotherapy resistance and more uniform delivery of cytotoxic agents at the targeted site. Thus, complimentary combination of different agents that target multiple molecules in the angiogenic cascade may optimize inhibition of angiogenesis and improve clinical benefit in the cancer patients. This review provides an update on the current trend in exploitation of angiogenesis pathways as a strategy in the treatment of cancer.
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