Aim: To investigate the influence of hepatic arterial blockage on blood perfusion of transplanted cancer in rat liver and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), and to explore the mechanisms involved in transarterial embolization (TAE)-induced metastasis of liver cancer preliminarily.
Methods: Walker 256 carcinosarcoma was transplanted into rat liver to establish the liver cancer model. Hepatic arterial ligation (HAL) was used to block the hepatic arterial blood supply and simulate TAE. Blood perfusion of tumor in control, laparotomy control, and HAL group was analyzed by Hoechst 33342 labeling assay, the serum VEGF level was assayed by ELISA, the expression of VEGF and MMP-1 mRNA was detected by in situ hybridization.
Results: Two days after HAL, the number of Hoechst 33342 labeled cells which represent the blood perfusion of tumor directly and hypoxia of tumor indirectly in HAL group decreased significantly compared with that in control group (329+/-29 vs 384+/-19, P<0.01). The serum VEGF level in the HAL group increased significantly as against that of the control group (93 ng.L(-1)+/-44 ng.L(-1) vs 55 ng.L(-1)+/-19 ng.L(-1), P<0.05). The expression of VEGF and MMP-1 mRNA in the tumor tissue of the HAL group increased significantly compared with that of the control and the laparotomy control groups (P<0.05). The blood perfusion data of the tumor, represented by the number of Hoechst 33342 labeled cells, showed a good linear inverse correlation with the serum VEGF level (r=-0.606, P<0.05) and the expression of VEGF mRNA in the tumor tissue ( r =-0.338, P<0.01).
Conclusion: Blockage of hepatic arterial blood supply results in decreased blood perfusion and increased expression of metastasis-associated genes VEGF and MMP-1 of transplanted liver cancer in rats. Decreased blood perfusion and hypoxia may be the major cause of up-regulated expression of VEGF.