Metastasis is the primary cause of cancer-related mortality. Cancer cells primarily metastasize via blood and lymphatic vessels to colonize lymph nodes and distant organs, leading to worse prognosis. Thus, strategies to limit blood and lymphatic spread of cancer have been a focal point of cancer research for several decades. Resistance to FDA-approved anti-angiogenic therapies designed to limit blood vessel growth has emerged as a significant clinical challenge. However, there are no FDA-approved drugs that target tumor lymphangiogenesis, despite the consequences of metastasis through the lymphatic system. This review highlights several of the key resistance mechanisms to anti-angiogenic therapy and potential challenges facing anti-lymphangiogenic therapy. Blood and lymphatic vessels are more than just conduits for nutrient, fluid, and cancer cell transport. Recent studies have elucidated how these vasculatures often regulate immune responses. Vessels that are abnormal or compromised by tumor cells can lead to immunosuppression. Therapies designed to improve lymphatic vessel function while limiting metastasis may represent a viable approach to enhance immunotherapy and limit cancer progression.
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