Increased angiogenesis is important in the pathophysiology of solid tumors. Recent studies show that angiogenesis and angiogenic factors play an important role in hematological malignancies. Both acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) are associated with a substantial increase in vascularity in the bone marrow as well as increased levels of various angiogenic factors including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor, angiogenin, angiopoietin-1, platelet-derived growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, epidermal growth factor, tumor necrosis factor-α, and transforming growth factor-α and transforming growth factor-β. Most of these angiogenic factors appear to be secreted by the neoplastic hematopoietic cells and appear to promote the growth and proliferation of the leukemic cells in an autocrine fashion. More importantly, angiogenic factors play a role in the clinical behavior and outcome of both AML and MDS. Despite significant overlap between MDS and AML in many aspects, higher levels of cellular VEGF and lower levels KDR are seen in MDS than in AML. Antiangiogenic therapy may play a role in AML and MDS and some differences in response may exist between MDS and AML.

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