The vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) plays a crucial role in tumor angiogenesis. Through its primary receptor VEGFR-2, VEGF exerts the activity of a multitasking cytokine, which is able to stimulate endothelial cell survival, invasion and migration into surrounding tissues, proliferation, as well as vascular permeability and inflammation. The core components of VEGF signaling delineate well-defined intracellular routes. However, the whole scenario is complicated by the fact that cascades of signals converge and branch at many points in VEGF signaling, thus depicting a complex signal transduction network that is also finely regulated by different mechanisms. In this chapter, we present a careful collection of the best-characterized VEGF-induced signal transduction pathways, attempting to offer an overview of the complexity of VEGF signaling in the context of tumor angiogenesis.
Part of the book: Physiologic and Pathologic Angiogenesis