Hemangiosarcoma in rodents: Mode-of-action evaluation and human relevance

Samuel M. Cohen, Richard D. Storer, Kay A. Criswell, Nancy G. Doerrer, Vicki L. Dellarco, David G. Pegg, Zbigniew W. Wojcinski, David E. Malarkey, Abigail C. Jacobs, James E. Klaunig, James A. Swenberg, Jon C. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Although rarely occurring in humans, hemangiosarcomas (HS) have become important in evaluating the potential human risk of several chemicals, including industrial, agricultural, and pharmaceutical agents. Spontaneous HS arise frequently in mice, less commonly in rats, and frequently in numerous breeds of dogs. This review explores knowledge gaps and uncertainties related to the mode of action (MOA) for the induction of HS in rodents, and evaluates the potential relevance for human risk. For genotoxic chemicals (vinyl chloride and thorotrast), significant information is available concerning the MOA. In contrast, numerous chemicals produce HS in rodents by nongenotoxic, proliferative mechanisms. An overall framework is presented, including direct and indirect actions on endothelial cells, paracrine effects in local tissues, activation of bone marrow endothelial precursor cells, and tissue hypoxia. Numerous obstacles are identified in investigations into the MOA for mouse HS and the relevance of the mouse tumors to humans, including lack of identifiable precursor lesions, usually late occurrence of the tumors, and complexities of endothelial biology. This review proposes a working MOA for HS induced by nongenotoxic compounds that can guide future research in this area. Importantly, a common MOA appears to exist for the nongenotoxic induction of HS, where there appears to be a convergence of multiple initiating events (e.g., hemolysis, decreased respiration, adipocyte growth) leading to either dysregulated angiogenesis and/or erythropoiesis that results from hypoxia and macrophage activation. These later events lead to the release of angiogenic growth factors and cytokines that stimulate endothelial cell proliferation, which, if sustained, provide the milieu that can lead to HS formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-18
Number of pages15
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Angiogenesis
  • Endothelial cells
  • Endothelial precursor cells
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Human relevance
  • Mode of action
  • PPAR agonists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hemangiosarcoma in rodents: Mode-of-action evaluation and human relevance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this