Tie2-expressing monocytes and tumor angiogenesis: regulation by hypoxia and angiopoietin-2

Recent findings indicate that tumor-associated macrophages are important drivers of tumor angiogenesis. Here, we review the essential role played by Tie2-expressing monocytes (TEM) in this phenomenon. TEMs are present in human blood and tumors and their elimination in various tumor models suppresses tumor angiogenesis. A ligand for Tie2, angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), is produced by angiogenic tumor vessels and is a chemoattractant for TEMs. Hypoxia up-regulates Tie2 expression on TEMs and, together with Ang-2, down-regulates their antitumor functions. Learning more about the regulation of TEMs by the tumor microenvironment may yield new strategies to ablate the tumor vasculature.

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