Vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) functions specifically to induce lymphangiogenesis. We examined the relationship between expression of VEGF-C and clinicopathological features in patients with colorectal cancer. The expression of VEGF-C in the 99 primary tumours and 18 metastatic lymph nodes from colorectal cancer patients was examined immunohistochemically. To verify VEGF-C mRNA expression, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was carried out. The expression of VEGF-C correlated with lymphatic involvement, lymph nodes metastasis, and depth of invasion. On the other hand, correlations were nil with regard to gender of the patients, histologic type, venous involvement, and liver metastasis. The expression of VEGF-C in metastatic lymph nodes was fairly consistent with this expression in the primary tumour. Survival time was shorter for VEGF-C positive groups than for VEGF-C negative ones, but with no statistically significant difference. RT-PCR findings revealed that the expression of VEGF-C mRNA correlated mostly with that of VEGF-C protein expression. VEGF-C may play an important role in lymphatic spread of colorectal cancer. (C) 2000 Cancer Research Campaign.
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