Background: Cervical cancer is the most common malignant gynecological cancer, and lymphatic metastasis can occur in the early stage of tumor growth. Lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor-1 (LYVE-1), a marker for lymphatic endothelium, provides powerful tools for studying tumor lymphangiogenesis. The purpose of this study is to investigate the clinical implications of lymphangiogenesis in the metastasis of early-stage invasive cervical carcinoma.
Methods: We used immunohistochemical (IHC) staining with the antibody against LYVE-1 to measure lymph vessel density in 41 cases of early-stage invasive cervical carcinoma and 12 cases of normal cervical samples. We then analyzed the correlation between lymph vessel density and clinicopathological features of the tumors.
Results: (1) The majority of peritumoral lymphatics were enlarged, dilated, and irregular. In contrast, intratumoral lymph vessels were small and collapsed. The peritumoral lymphatic vessel density (PLVD) was significantly higher than the intratumoral lymphatic vessel density (ILVD) (P < 0.01). (2) Both ILVD and PLVD were significantly higher than the LVD of the control cervixes (P < 0.01). (3) Both ILVD and PLVD were significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (ILVD, P < 0.05; PLVD, P < 0.01) and lymphatic vessel invasion (ILVD, P < 0.05; PLVD, P < 0.01). Both the ILVD and PLVD in patients with histological grade HG2 and HG3 were significantly higher than those with HG1 (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Tumor lymphangiogenesis in early-stage invasive cervical carcinoma may play an important role in the process of lymphatic metastasis.