Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-C does not predict occult lymph-node metastasis in early oral squamous cell carcinoma

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2008 Apr;37(4):372-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2007.11.021. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Strong vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) expression has been correlated to occurrence of lymph-node metastases in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The incidence of occult lymph-node metastasis remains a decisive factor in the prognosis of patients with early OSCC. The aim of this study was to evaluate VEGF-C expression as a predictor of occult lymph-node metastasis in OSCC. Eighty-seven patients with primary OSCC arising in the tongue or floor of mouth, clinically T1N0M0 or T2N0M0, with (pN+) and without (pN0) occult lymph-node metastases were analyzed for VEGF-C expression by malignant cells. Occult lymph-node metastases (pN+) were detected in 22% of the 64 patients who were submitted to elective neck dissection. No statistically significant difference was found between OSCC with and without occult lymph-node metastasis in regard to VEGF-C immunoexpression by malignant cells and clinicopathologic features. Independently of VEGF-C expression, lymph-node metastasis (pN+) was the most significant prognostic factor for overall survival of patients with OSCC (p=0.030). These findings indicate that isolated VEGF-C expression by malignant cells is not of predictive value for occult lymph-node metastasis in the early stages of OSCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / blood*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / blood
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C / biosynthesis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C / blood*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C