This article has been retracted.
Received April 17, 2012; Revision received May 29, 2012
Solid tumor growth is dependent on the development of an adequate blood supply. For years, sprouting angiogenesis has been considered as the exclusive mechanism of tumor vascularization. However, in recent years, another mechanism of tumor vascularization has been identified that does not involve endothelial cells, a process called vasculogenic mimicry (VM). VM describes the unique ability of highly aggressive tumor cells to form vessel-like networks by virtue of their high plasticity. VM has been observed in several tumor types, and its occurrence is strongly associated with poor prognosis. This review focuses on signaling molecules and cascades involved in VM. In addition, the clinical significance of VM regardless of anti-angiogenesis treatment modalities is described.
KEY WORDS: highly aggressive tumor, vasculogenic mimicry, signaling pathway, prognosis