Expression and localization of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors in human hepatocellular carcinoma and non-HCC tissues

Oncol Rep. 2000 Jul-Aug;7(4):725-9. doi: 10.3892/or.7.4.725.


Flt-1 (VEGF receptor-1) and KDR/Flk-1 (VEGF receptor-2) are the high-affinity receptors for the angiogenesis factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF expression has been confirmed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and VEGF is thought to be involved in the angiogenesis within HCC tissues. However, expressions of VEGF receptors in HCC have not been reported. We immunohistochemically examined expressions and localizations of Flt-1 and KDR in 28 surgically resected HCC tissues. In non-cancerous area, Flt-1 and KDR were mainly found in macrophages including Kupffer cells; both receptors were found in vascular endothelial cells in the portal veins and arteries within portal tracts; and KDR was also found in some sinusoidal endothelial cells. In cancerous area, Flt-1 and KDR were found in some macrophages, and also in the endothelial cells of intratumoral blood vessels. In 25 moderately and/or poorly differentiated HCCs, KDR expression in the blood space endothelial cells was clear and continuous in 20 cases, and focal in 5 cases. These results suggest that there would be an angiogenesis mechanism via VEGF/Flt-1 or VEGF/KDR in HCC, and the VEGF/KDR system would take a more important role.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / blood supply
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Female
  • Hepatitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kupffer Cells / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / analysis*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / analysis*
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / analysis*
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1