Cancer cells use a small regulatory RNA to induce the formation and growth of new blood vessels, report scientists at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (Anand S et al. Nat Med. 2010;16:909-914). The study is the first description of a micro-RNA-regulated angiogenic switch.
The researchers found that the micro RNA miR-132 is expressed at high levels in the endothelium of human tumors and hemangiomas but is undetectable in normal endothelium. miR-132 appears to suppress expression of a protein called p120RasGAP that is known to inactivate the oncoprotein Ras and inhibit vascular development and remodeling.
Hampton T. Tumor Vessel Switch. JAMA. 2010;304(13):1432. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1369