Abnormal angiogenesis is a critical feature of many diseases, including cancers and their precursors. Although
the association between prostate carcinogenesis and changes in microvascular architecture is well known, these changes
are not well-documented from a quantitative point of view. The present study is a review about stereological estimates of
the number of quiescent and proliferative endothelial cells, and length of both blood and lymphatic microvessels in normal
and prostate cancer tissues. A decrease of endothelial cell density, together with an increase of microvessel length
density, was detected in prostate cancer specimens. When comparing blood and lymphatic microvessels the next findings
were remarked: The length density from blood vessels was greater than in lymphatics. The average vascular diameter for
lymphatics was decreased in cancer in comparison with controls. The endothelial cells per unit of volume were higher in
blood vessels than in lymphatics. The surface density of endothelium and the average of endothelial cell surface, were
similar in blood and lymphatic vessels in all the groups irrespective of normal, intratumoral or peritumoral locations. The
average vascular diameter was the only parameter that in the lymphatics shows a gradient of decreasing from normal to
intratumoral tissues, due to mechanical compression by the growing tumour. In contrast with the angiogenesis observed in
prostate cancer, the lymphangiogenesis seems to be not relevant. The relevance of the quantification of the blood and
lymph microvessels for evaluating anti-angiogenesis strategies in the therapy of prostate cancer is discussed.
Keywords: Angiogenesis, Cancer, Lymphatics, Microvessels, Prostate, Stereology.
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