Pericytes in Sarcomas and Other Mesenchymal Tumors

Leslie Chang, Michelle A. Scott, Carolyn A. Meyers, Aaron W. James

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Tumors of mesenchymal origin are a diverse group, with >130 distinct entities currently recognized by the World Health Organization. A subset of mesenchymal tumors grow or invade in a perivascular fashion, and their potential relationship to pericytes is a matter of ongoing interest. In fact, multiple intersections exist between pericytes and tumors of mesenchymal origin. First, pericytes are the likely cell of origin for a group of mesenchymal tumors with a common perivascular growth pattern. These primarily benign tumors grow in a perivascular fashion and diffusely express canonical pericyte markers such as CD146, smooth muscle actin (SMA), platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFR-β), and RGS5. These benign tumors include glomus tumor, myopericytoma, angioleiomyoma, and myofibroma. Second and as suggested by animal models, pericytes may give rise to malignant sarcomas. This is not a suggestion that all sarcomas within a certain subtype arise from pericytes, but that genetic modifications within a pericyte cell type may give rise to sarcomas. Third, mesenchymal tumors that are likely not a pericyte derivative co-opt pericyte markers in certain contexts. These include the PEComa family of tumors and liposarcoma. Fourth and finally, as “guardians” that enwrap the microvasculature, nonneoplastic pericytes may be important in sarcoma disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Angioleiomyoma
  • Angiomyolipoma
  • Extravascular migratory metastasis
  • Glomus tumor
  • Liposarcoma
  • Mural cell
  • Myofibroma
  • Myopericytoma
  • PEComa
  • Pericyte
  • Pericyte mimicry
  • Perivascular epithelioid cell tumor
  • Sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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