UMMS Affiliation

Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Cancer Biology | Cell Biology | Cells | Enzymes and Coenzymes | Neoplasms


The function of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in cancer extends beyond angiogenesis and vascular permeability. Specifically, VEGF-mediated signaling occurs in tumor cells and this signaling contributes to key aspects of tumorigenesis including the self-renewal and survival of cancer stem cells (CSCs). In addition to VEGF receptor tyrosine kinases, the neuropilins (NRPs) are critical for mediating the effects of VEGF on CSCs, primarily because of their ability to impact the function of growth factor receptors and integrins. VEGF/NRP signaling can regulate the expression and function of key molecules that have been implicated in CSC function including Rho family guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) and transcription factors. The VEGF/NRP signaling axis is a prime target for therapy because it can confer resistance to standard chemotherapy, which is ineffective against most CSCs. Indeed, several studies have shown that targeting either NRP1 or NRP2 can inhibit tumor initiation and decrease resistance to other therapies.


VEGF, cancer stem cell, neuropilin

Rights and Permissions

© 2019 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

DOI of Published Version



Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jan 23;20(3):490. pii: ijms20030490. doi: 10.3390/ijms20030490. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International journal of molecular sciences

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.