Opposing Roles of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C in Metastatic Dissemination and Resistance to Radio/Chemotherapy: Discussion of Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies

Methods Mol Biol. 2022:2475:1-23. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2217-9_1.


Many cancers can be cured by combining surgery with healthy margins, radiation therapy and chemotherapies. However, when the pathology becomes metastatic, cancers can be incurable. The best situation involves "chronicization" of the pathology even for several years. However, most of the time, patients die within a few months. To disseminate throughout the body, cancer cells must enter the vascular network and seed in another organ. However, during the initiation of cancer processes, the tumor is avascular. Later, the production of angiogenic factors causes tumor neovascularization and subsequent growth and spread, and the presence of blood and/or lymphatic vessels is associated with high grade tumors. Moreover, during tumor development, cancer cells enter lymphatic vessels and disseminate via the lymphatic network. Hence, blood and lymphatic vessels are considered as main routes of metastatic dissemination and cancer aggressiveness. Therefore, anti-angiogenic drugs entered in the therapeutic arsenal from 2004. Despite undeniable effects however, they are far from curative and only prolong survival by a few months.Recently, the concepts of angio/lymphangiogenesis were revisited by analyzing the role of blood and lymphatic vessels at the initiation steps of tumor development. During this period, cancer cells enter lymphatic vessels and activate immune cells within lymph nodes to initiate an antitumor immune response. Moreover, the presence of blood vessels at the proximity of the initial nodule allows immune cells to reach the tumor and eliminate cancer cells. Therefore, blood and lymphatic networks have a beneficial role during a defined time window. Considering only their detrimental effects is a concern. Hence, administration of anti-angio/lymphangiogenic therapies should be revisited to avoid the destruction of networks involved in antitumor immune response. This review mainly focuses on one of the main drivers of lymphangiogenesis, the VEGFC and its beneficial and pejorative roles according to the grade of aggressive tumors.

Keywords: Lymphatic vessels; Metastasis; Resistance to treatments; VEGFC.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology
  • Lymphatic Vessels* / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C* / metabolism


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor C