Role of lymphatic vasculature in regional and distant metastases

Microvasc Res. 2014 Sep;95:46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2014.07.004. Epub 2014 Jul 12.


In cancer, lymphatic vasculature has been traditionally viewed only as a transportation system for metastatic cells. It has now become clear that lymphatics perform many additional functions which could influence cancer progression. Lymphangiogenesis, induced at the primary tumor site and at distant sites, potently augments metastasis. Lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) control tumor cell entry and exit from the lymphatic vessels. LECs also control immune cell traffic and directly modulate adaptive immune responses. This review highlights advances in our understanding of the mechanisms by which lymphatic vessels, and in particular lymphatic endothelium, impact metastasis.

Keywords: CCL1; CCR8; Chemokine; Immunoregulation; Lymph node; Lymphangiogenesis; Lymphatic endothelium; Metastasis; VEGF-C; VEGFR-3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Lymphatic Vessels / immunology
  • Lymphatic Vessels / metabolism
  • Lymphatic Vessels / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Prognosis