Overexpression of lymphangiogenic growth factor VEGF-C in human pancreatic cancer

Rui Feng Tang, Jun Itakura, Takuma Aikawa, Kei Matsuda, Hideki Fujii, Murray Korc, Yoshiro Matsumoto

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82 Scopus citations


Vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) is a lymphangiogenic polypeptide that has been implicated in cancer growth. In this study, we characterized VEGF-C expression in cultured human pancreatic cancer cell lines and determined whether the presence of VEGF-C in human pancreatic cancers is associated with clinicopathologic characteristics. VEGF-C mRNA transcripts were present in all five tested cell lines (Capan-1, MIA-PaCa-2, PANC-1, COLO-357, and T3M4). Immunoblotting with a highly specific anti-VEGF-C antibody revealed the presence of VEGF-C protein in all the cell lines. Northern blot analysis of total RNA revealed an approximately 2.2-fold increase in VEGF-C mRNA transcript in the cancer samples compared with the normal pancreas. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the expression of VEGF-C and its receptor flt-4 in the cancer cells within the tumor mass. Immunohistochemical analysis of 51 pancreatic cancer tissues revealed the presence of strong VEGF-C immunoreactivity in the cancer cells in 80.4% of the cancer tissues. The presence of VEGF-C in these cells was associated with increased lymphatic vessels invasion and lymph node metastasis, but not with decreased patient survival. These findings indicate that VEGF-C and its receptor are commonly overexpressed in human pancreatic cancers and that this factor may contribute to the lymphangiogenic process and metastasis in this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 7 2001


  • Flt-4
  • Human pancreatic cancer
  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology

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    Tang, R. F., Itakura, J., Aikawa, T., Matsuda, K., Fujii, H., Korc, M., & Matsumoto, Y. (2001). Overexpression of lymphangiogenic growth factor VEGF-C in human pancreatic cancer. Pancreas, 22(3), 285-292. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006676-200104000-00010