VEGF promotes tumorigenesis and angiogenesis of human glioblastoma stem cells

Naoki Oka, Akio Soeda, Akihito Inagaki, Masafumi Onodera, Hidekazu Maruyama, Akira Hara, Takahiro Kunisada, Hideki Mori, Toru Iwama
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2007 August 31, 360 (3): 553-9
There is increasing evidence for the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in malignant brain tumors, and these CSCs may play a pivotal role in tumor initiation, growth, and recurrence. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) promotes the proliferation of vascular endothelial cells (VECs) and the neurogenesis of neural stem cells. Using CSCs derived from human glioblastomas and a retrovirus expressing VEGF, we examined the effects of VEGF on the properties of CSCs in vitro and in vivo. Although VEGF did not affect the property of CSCs in vitro, the injection of mouse brains with VEGF-expressing CSCs led to the massive expansion of vascular-rich GBM, tumor-associated hemorrhage, and high morbidity, suggesting that VEGF promoted tumorigenesis via angiogenesis. These results revealed that VEGF induced the proliferation of VEC in the vascular-rich tumor environment, the so-called stem cell niche.

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