It has been reported that dendritic cells (DCs) play a crucial role in the host's immune defense against tumors, and there is an inverse correlation between the density of DCs and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). However, the relationship between the expression of VEGF-C and DC infiltration remained unclear. In the present study, we investigated whether the expression of VEGF-C correlated with the number of DCs in vivo. We immunohistochemically analyzed gastric carcinoma tissue in this study. The survival curves show that the prognosis for patients with a low density of DCs was significantly poorer than that for patients with high DC density (p < 0.01). Further, the survival curves according to the VEGF-C status showed that the survival rate in patients with low VEGF-C expression was higher than that in patients with higher expression (p < 0.01). There was a significant negative correlation between the density of DCs and the expression of VEGF-C (r = -0.26, p < 0.05). We suggest that VEGF-C produced by cancer causes DCs to become dysfunctional. This may be one of the ways that cancers evade immunosurveillance.
Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel