Angiogenesis is the growth of new vessels and plays an essential role in tumour progression, expansion and metastasis. It is a multiple process that depends upon cooperation and interaction between a variety of cells, growth factors and other molecules. There is a large body of evidence in the literature that angiogenesis has prognostic relevance in certain tumors, including breast cancer. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the angiogenic phenotype may be acquired early in tumor evolution. In particular, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) represents a heterogeneous group of lesions that show important differences in biological behavior and although it is not a fatal disease, the development of invasive recurrence for DCIS patients emphasizes the necessity to develop new measures and strategies for its prevention. This review profiles angiogenesis in regard with breast cancer development, outlines the available methods for measuring and assessing neovascularization, and discusses the likely therapeutic roles of angiogenesis in breast cancer and specifically in ductal carcinoma in situ.
Keywords: Angiogenesis, ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive breast carcinoma, preinvasive lesions, recurrence, microvessel morphometry, VEGF, antiangiogenic therapy, microvessel density
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