Endocr J 2019 Apr 6;66(4):277-293. Epub 2019 Mar 6.
Cellular and Molecular Endocrine Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Thyroid cancer is the most prevalent endocrine cancer worldwide. Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, plays a pivotal role in the development and progression of tumors. Over the past years, cancer research has focused on the ability of tumors to induce newly formed blood vessel, because tumor growth and the process of cancer metastasis mainly depends on angiogenesis. Tumor neovascularization occurs following the imbalance between pro-angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors until the tumor switches to an angiogenic phenotype. A number of signaling factors and receptors that are implicated in the regulation of angiogenesis have been identified and characterized; most notably, the vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) family and their receptors, which are the main pro-angiogenic molecules during early development and in pathological conditions such as cancer. Although thyroid is a highly vascularized organ, angiogenic switch in tumors of this organ leads to the formation of a vast network of blood vessels that favors the dissemination of tumor cells to distant organs and results in deterioration of patient conditions. Accordingly, the identification of key angiogenic biomarkers for thyroid cancer can facilitate diagnosis, prognosis and clinical decision-making and also may help to discover targeting factors for effective cancer therapy as well as monitoring response to therapy. Hence, the main purposes of this review are to summarize the types and mechanisms of angiogenesis emphasizing the prominent factors implicated in thyroid cancer angiogenesis.