Angiogenesis is a well-controlled process that is regulated by multiple factors that are secreted by the cancer cells as well as other cells within the tumor microenvironment. Angiogenesis inhibitors are showing therapeutic efficacy in an increasing number of human cancers. However, in both preclinical and clinical settings, the benefits are transitory and are followed by resistance and a restoration of tumor growth and progression. Therefore, novel anti-angiogenic strategies with complementary mechanisms are needed to maximize efficacy and minimize resistance to current angiogenesis inhibitors. Activation of platelets and blood coagulation frequently occurs in cancer patients. Apart from VEGF, platelets contain several other angiogenic growth factors and inhibitors that are released upon activation and promote tumor neoangiogenesis. Although considerable attention has been focused on platelet peptide growth factors, little is known about the mitogenic effects of nonpeptide platelet products such s serotonin (5-HT), considering that 99% of 5-HT in blood is found in platelets and is released at blood clotting sites. In previous studies, we have shown that endothelial cells express 5-HT receptors and 5-HT has growth stimulatory effcts on multiple types of endothelial cells. We have also demonstrated that 5-HT binds to inhibitory type of G-protein coupled receptors and stimulates the phosphorylation of PYK2/PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway, the same signaling pathway, which has been activated by most angiogenic factors, including VEGF. In our recent studies, we explored angiogenic promoting activity of 5-HT in the mouse matrigel plug assay (in vivo angiogenesis model system) and antiangiogenic potential of antagonists against 5-HT receptors in xenograft-CAM assay (ex vivo tumor angiogenesis model system). The most importantly, an antagonist against a specific 5-HT receptor demonstrated the synergistic effect in blocking tumor-induced new blood vessel formation when it was applied in combination with Sutent, a FDA approved antiangiogenic drug against VEGF receptor. The results of this study suggest that 5-HT signaling pathway constitute a novel target of tumor angiogenesis in anticancer therapeutic development.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 102nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2011 Apr 2-6; Orlando, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2011;71(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 5154. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2011-5154