Clinicopathological significance of vascular endothelial growth factor-C in breast carcinoma with long-term follow-up

Mod Pathol. 2003 Apr;16(4):309-14. doi: 10.1097/01.MP.0000062858.98295.9F.


Expression of angiogenic and lymphangiogenic factors by tumors may influence the route of metastatic spread. The angiogenic factor vascular growth factor-C (VEGF-C) is implicated in the development of lymphatic vessels and promotion of lymphatic metastasis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether VEGF-C correlates with lymph node metastasis or prognosis. We assessed VEGF-C expression using immunohistochemistry in 123 invasive breast carcinomas with long-term follow-up. The relationship between VEGF-C expression and lymph node status and other established clinicopathological parameters was assessed. Whether VEGF-C expression plays a prognostic role in breast cancer was also investigated. VEGF-C expression was identified in 103 cases (83.7%). Positive VEGF-C was significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.0131). Survival curves determined by the Kaplan-Meier method and univariate analysis demonstrated that positive VEGF-C was associated with both disease-free survival (P = 0.0165) and overall survival (P = 0.0175). On the basis of our findings, VEGF-C plays a crucial role in lymph node metastasis and may be a significant prognostic factor for long-term survival in breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C
  • Receptor, ErbB-2