Serum vascular endothelial growth factor C correlates with lymph node metastases and high-risk tumor profiles in papillary thyroid carcinoma

Ann Surg. 2008 Mar;247(3):483-9. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31815fa447.


Objective: To evaluate the clinical relevance of serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF-C in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC).

Summary background data: VEGF is a potent angiogenic factor promoting tumor angioinvasion and distant metastases, whereas VEGF-C enhances nodal metastases because of its lymphangiogenic effect. Although both tissues VEGF and VEGF-C have been shown to contribute to tumor metastases in PTC, the clinical relevance of serum VEGF (sVEGF) and sVEGF-C remains unknown.

Methods: Preoperative serum samples collected from 85 primary PTC patients and 44 control subjects with benign thyroid diseases were measured for sVEGF and sVEGF-C levels. Potential correlations between their serum levels and clinicopathologic features as well as the commonly adopted risk group stratification profiles of the tumors were analyzed.

Results: Preoperative sVEGF and sVEGF-C levels of PTC patients were significantly higher compared with those of control subjects (P = 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). sVEGF-C level was significantly elevated in older patients, those with extrathyroidal invasion and with lymph node metastases whereas sVEGF level was significantly increased in multifocal tumors. sVEGF-C, but not sVEGF, correlated significantly with high risk tumors in all commonly adopted risk group stratification profiles. An elevated preoperative sVEGF-C level of >7200 pg/mL was shown to be the only independent risk factor for nodal metastases. sVEGF-C levels declined significantly at 3 months after thyroidectomy in PTC but not control patients.

Conclusions: sVEGF-C levels in PTC patients correlated significantly with the presence of nodal metastases and advanced tumor stages. Its clinical relevance needs further evaluation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroid Diseases / blood
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / blood*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C / blood*


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C