Angiogenesis-mediated progression of micrometastasis to lethal macrometastasis is the major cause of death in cancer patients. Here, using mouse models of pulmonary metastasis, we identify bone marrow (BM)-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) as critical regulators of this angiogenic switch. We show that tumors induce expression of the transcription factor Id1 in the EPCs and that suppression of Id1 after metastatic colonization blocked EPC mobilization, caused angiogenesis inhibition, impaired pulmonary macrometastases, and increased survival of tumor-bearing animals. These findings establish the role of EPCs in metastatic progression in preclinical models and suggest that selective targeting of EPCs may merit investigation as a therapy for cancer patients with lung metastases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas