Lymphangiogenesis and cancer metastasis

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jan 1;16:723-39. doi: 10.2741/3715.


Lymphangiogenesis remains a fascinating biological process that plays a crucial role in both normal tissue development and several lymphatic diseases. The last few years have witnessed a rapid progression in understanding the development and regulation of the lymphatic system which provided insight on several pathological processes including cancer lymphatic metastasis. Lymphatic vasculature serves as a major route for tumour metastasis. The dissemination of malignant cells to the regional lymph nodes is an early step in the progression of many solid tumours and is an important determinant of staging and prognosis. Lymphangiogenesis is thought to play a pivotal role for cancer cells to metastasis to the regional lymph nodes. Several human solid tumours are now considered to be lymphangiogenic i.e. they have the ability to induce their own lymphatic vessels to establish metastasis. Hence, targeting lymphangiogenesis by developing anti-lymphangiogenic agents might constitute a novel way to prevent lymphatic progression in some tumours. Here, we have reviewed the development of the lymphatic system, the regulation of lymphangiogenesis and explored its relation to several human cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 5'-Nucleotidase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymphangiogenesis / physiology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology
  • Lymphatic System / physiopathology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-3 / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Weibel-Palade Bodies / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • LYVE1 protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • PDPN protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • prospero-related homeobox 1 protein
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-3
  • 5'-Nucleotidase