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Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 by lymphatic endothelial cells is associated with lymph node metastasis in prostate cancer


PURPOSE: The molecular mechanisms underlying lymph node metastasis are poorly understood, despite the well-established clinical importance of lymph node status in many human cancers. Recently, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C and VEGF-D have been implicated in the regulation of tumor lymphangiogenesis and enhancement of lymphatic invasion via activation of VEGF receptor-3. The purpose of this study was to determine the expression pattern of the VEGF-C/VEGF-D/VEGF receptor-3 axis in prostate cancer and its relationship with lymph node metastasis. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The expression pattern of VEGF-C, VEGF-D, and VEGF receptor-3 in localized prostate cancer specimens (n = 37) was determined using immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Widespread, heterogeneous staining for VEGF-C and VEGF-D was observed in all cancer specimens. Intensity of VEGF-C staining was lower in benign prostate epithelium than in adjacent carcinoma, whereas no difference between benign epithelium and carcinoma was observed for VEGF-D staining. VEGF receptor-3 immunostaining was detected in endothelial cells of lymphatic vessels in 18 of 37 tissue samples. The presence of VEGF receptor-3-positive vessels was associated with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.0002), Gleason grade (P < 0.0001), extracapsular extension (P = 0.0382), and surgical margin status (P = 0.0069). In addition, VEGF receptor-3 staining highlighted lymphatic invasion by VEGF-C-positive/VEGF-D-positive carcinoma cells. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results suggest that paracrine activation of lymphatic endothelial cell VEGF receptor-3 by VEGF-C and/or VEGF-D may be involved in lymphatic metastasis. Thus the VEGF-C/VEGF-D/VEGF receptor-3 signaling pathway may provide a target for antilymphangiogenic therapy in prostate cancer.

Type Journal
ISBN 1078-0432 (Print)
Authors Zeng, Y.;Opeskin, K.;Baldwin, M. E.;Horvath, L. G.;Achen, M. G.;Stacker, S. A.;Sutherland, R. L.;Williams, E. D. :
Responsible Garvan Author A/Prof Lisa Horvath
Published Date 2004-01-01
Published Volume 10
Published Issue 15
Published Pages 5137-44
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version