Gene Summary

Gene:VEGFB; vascular endothelial growth factor B
Aliases: VRF, VEGFL
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor)/VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) family. The VEGF family members regulate the formation of blood vessels and are involved in endothelial cell physiology. This member is a ligand for VEGFR-1 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1) and NRP-1 (neuropilin-1). Studies in mice showed that this gene was co-expressed with nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes and the encoded protein specifically controlled endothelial uptake of fatty acids. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been identified. [provided by RefSeq, Sep 2011]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:vascular endothelial growth factor B
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 27 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: VEGFB (cancer-related)

Wu MY, Xie X, Xu ZK, et al.
PP2A inhibitors suppress migration and growth of PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells through inhibition on the Wnt/β-catenin pathway by phosphorylation and degradation of β-catenin.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(2):513-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cantharidin is an active constituent of mylabris, a traditional Chinese medicine, and presents strong anticancer activity in various cell lines. Cantharidin is a potent and selective inhibitor of serine/threonine protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Our previous studies revealed the prospect of application of cantharidin, as well as other PP2A inhibitors, in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. However, the mechanisms involved in the anticancer effect of PP2A inhibitors have not been fully explored. The Wnt/β‑catenin pathway is involved in cell migration and proliferation and participates in the progression of pancreatic cancer. If β‑catenin is phosphorylated and degraded, the Wnt/β‑catenin pathway is blocked. PP2A dephosphorylates β‑catenin and keeps the Wnt/β‑catenin pathway active. In the present study, we found that PP2A inhibitor treatment induced phosphorylation and degradation of β‑catenin. The suppression on the migration and growth of PANC‑1 pancreatic cancer cells could be attenuated by pretreatment with FH535, a β‑catenin pathway inhibitor. Microarray showed that PP2A inhibitor treatment induced expression changes in 13 of 138 genes downstream of the β‑catenin pathway. Real‑time PCR further confirmed that FH535 attenuated the expression changes induced by PP2A inhibitors in 6 of these 13 candidate genes. These 6 genes, VEGFB, Dkk3, KRT8, NRP1, Cacnalg and WISP2, have been confirmed to participate in the migration and/or growth regulation in previous studies. Thus, the phosphorylation- and degradation-mediated suppression on β‑catenin participates in the cytotoxicity of PP2A inhibitors. Our findings may provide insight into the treatment of pancreatic cancer using a targeting PP2A strategy.

Yang L, Yang L, Tian W, et al.
Resveratrol plays dual roles in pancreatic cancer cells.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2014; 140(5):749-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Although the potential anticancer effect of resveratrol (RSV) on pancreatic cancer has been reported, its mechanism was not fully understood. The role of vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGF-B) in cancer remains controversial. Herein, we aimed to examine whether the anticancer effect of RSV was related to the VEGF-B.
METHODS: The effect of RSV on pancreatic cancer cell line (capan-2 cells) was evaluated by CCK-8 assay, Hoechst 33342 staining, and flow cytometry. The mRNA level of VEGF-B was measured by real-time PCR. VEGF-B expression was knockdown by small interfering RNA (siRNA).The protein levels of VEGF-B, glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3β), and Bax were measured by Western blot.
RESULTS: Resveratrol treatment inhibited tumor growth, induced apoptosis, and up-regulated Bax expression in capan-2 cells. The mRNA and protein levels of VEGF-B were up-regulated after RSV treatment. However, VEGF-B siRNA treatment increased the apoptotic rate, and inhibited tumor activator GSK-3β, while Bax expression was not affected. The combination of RSV and VEGF-B siRNA showed significantly higher apoptotic rate in comparison with RSV or VEGF-B siRNA mono-treatment group.
CONCLUSIONS: Resveratrol plays dual roles in pancreatic cancer: as a tumor suppressor via the up-regulation of Bax; as a tumor activator via the up-regulation of VEGF-B; and the anticancer effect of RSV is much stronger than the cancer promotion effect. The combination of RSV with pharmacological inhibitor of VEGF-B might, therefore, be a promising modality for clinical pancreatic cancer therapy.

Shahneh FZ, Baradaran B, Zamani F, Aghebati-Maleki L
Tumor angiogenesis and anti-angiogenic therapies.
Hum Antibodies. 2013; 22(1-2):15-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Angiogenesis, the development and growth of blood vessels, is a major topic of research which began in 1971 with Folkman's original hypothesis. Different mechanisms of blood vessel growth are sprouting and intussusceptive angiogenesis, vascular mimicry, and blood vessel cooption. Dis-regulated angiogenesis may result in numerous angiogenic diseases and is responsible for solid tumor growth and metastasis. Vascular endothelial cells are generally dormant in adult but in pathological conditions when tumors reach a size of about 0.2-2.0 mm in diameter, they become hypoxic and hindered in tumor growth in the lack of angiogenesis. During angiogenic switch pro-angiogenic factors predominate and result in angiogenesis and tumor progression. Angiogenesis switch leads to the increased production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) following up-regulation of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor. The VEGF family comprises from VEGF (VEGF-A), VEGF-B, VEGF-C, VEGF-D, and placental growth factor (PlGF). The VEGF family of receptors consists of three protein-tyrosine kinases. Now, the most conventional approach for controlling tumor angiogenesis is blockade of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway. The results of preclinical studies, substantial therapeutic effects of VEGF blockers have been stated in various types of human cancers, even in progressive or recurrent cancer cases.

Sanmartín E, Sirera R, Usó M, et al.
A gene signature combining the tissue expression of three angiogenic factors is a prognostic marker in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer.
Ann Surg Oncol. 2014; 21(2):612-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis are key mechanisms for tumor growth and dissemination. They are mainly regulated by the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family of ligands and receptors. The aim of this study was to analyze relative expression levels of angiogenic markers in resectable non-small cell lung cancer patients in order to asses a prognostic signature that could improve characterization of patients with worse clinical outcomes.
METHODS: RNA was obtained from tumor and normal lung specimens from 175 patients. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to analyze the relative expression of HIF1A, PlGF, VEGFA, VEGFA165b, VEGFB, VEGFC, VEGFD, VEGFR1, VEGFR2, VEGFR3, NRP1 and NRP2.
RESULTS: Univariate analysis showed that tumor size and ECOG-PS are prognostic factors for time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS). This analysis in the case of angiogenic factors also revealed that PlGF, VEGFA, VEGFB and VEGFD distinguish patients with different outcomes. Taking into account the complex interplay between the different ligands of the VEGF family and to more precisely predict the outcome of the patients, we considered a new analysis combining several VEGF ligands. In order to find independent prognostic variables, we performed a multivariate Cox analysis, which showed that the subgroup of patients with higher relative expression of VEGFA plus lower VEGFB and VEGFD presented the poorest outcome for both TTP and OS.
CONCLUSIONS: The relative expression of these three genes can be considered as an angiogenic gene signature whose applicability for the selection of candidates for targeted therapies needs to be further validated.

Dai W, Zeller C, Masrour N, et al.
Promoter CpG island methylation of genes in key cancer pathways associates with clinical outcome in high-grade serous ovarian cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2013; 19(20):5788-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: We aimed to identify DNA methylation biomarkers of progression-free survival (PFS) to platinum-based chemotherapy in high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) within biologically relevant ovarian cancer-associated pathways.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Association with PFS of CpG island (CGI) promoter DNA methylation at genes in the pathways Akt/mTOR, p53, redox, and homologous recombination DNA repair was sought with PFS as the primary objective in a prospectively collected ovarian cancer cohort (n = 150). Significant loci were validated for associations between PFS, methylation, and gene expression in an independent The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data set of HGSOC (n = 311).
RESULTS: DNA methylation at 29 CGI loci linked to 28 genes was significantly associated with PFS, independent from conventional clinical prognostic factors (adjusted P < 0.05). Of 17 out of the 28 genes represented in the TCGA data set, methylation of VEGFB, VEGFA, HDAC11, FANCA, E2F1, GPX4, PRDX2, RAD54L, and RECQL4 was prognostic in this independent patient cohort (one-sided P < 0.05, false discovery rate < 10%). A multivariate Cox model was constructed, with clinical parameters (age, stage, grade, and histologic type) and significant loci. The final model included NKD1, VEGFB, and PRDX2 as the three best predictors of PFS (P = 6.62 × 10(-6), permutation test P < 0.05). Focussing only on known VEGFs in the TCGA cohort showed that methylation at promoters of VEGFA, VEGFB, and VEGFC was significantly associated with PFS.
CONCLUSIONS: A three loci model of DNA methylation could identify two distinct prognostic groups of patients with ovarian cancer (PFS: HR = 2.29, P = 3.34 × 10(-5); overall survival: HR = 1.87, P = 0.007) and patients more likely to have poor response to chemotherapy (OR = 3.45, P = 0.012).

Lautenschlaeger T, George A, Klimowicz AC, et al.
Bladder preservation therapy for muscle-invading bladder cancers on Radiation Therapy Oncology Group trials 8802, 8903, 9506, and 9706: vascular endothelial growth factor B overexpression predicts for increased distant metastasis and shorter survival.
Oncologist. 2013; 18(6):685-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: From 1988 to 1999, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) conducted four prospective studies (8802, 8903, 9506, 9706) of patients with clinical stage T2-4a muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Treatment was selective bladder preservation using transurethral surgery (TURBT) plus cisplatin-based induction and consolidation chemoradiation regimens, reserving radical cystectomy for invasive tumor recurrence. We investigated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway biomarkers in this unique clinical dataset (median follow-up of 3.1 years).
METHODS: A total of 43 patients with tissue available from the entry TURBT were included in this analysis. Expression of VEGF ligands and receptors were quantified and scored by the AQUA platform (HistoRX, now Genoptix, Carlsbad, CA) and analyzed after median split.
RESULTS: VEGF expression levels were not associated with increased rates of complete response to induction chemoradiation. Higher levels of cytoplasmic VEGF-B, VEGF-C, and VEGF-R2 were associated with decreased overall survival rates. The 3-year overall survival estimates for high and low expressers were 43.7% and 75% for VEGF-B cytoplasm (p = .01), 40.2% and 86.7% for VEGF-C cytoplasm (p = .01), and 49.7% and 66.7% for VEGF-R2 cytoplasm (p = .02). Higher expression levels of cytoplasm VEGF-B were associated with higher rates of distant failure (p = .01).
CONCLUSIONS: Although VEGF ligands and receptors do not appear to be associated with complete response to induction chemoradiation for muscle-invasive bladder cancer, we report significant associations with overall survival and distant failure for certain VEGF family members.

Vecchione A, Belletti B, Lovat F, et al.
A microRNA signature defines chemoresistance in ovarian cancer through modulation of angiogenesis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(24):9845-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy; it is highly aggressive and causes almost 125,000 deaths yearly. Despite advances in detection and cytotoxic therapies, a low percentage of patients with advanced stage disease survive 5 y after the initial diagnosis. The high mortality of this disease is mainly caused by resistance to the available therapies. Here, we profiled microRNA (miR) expression in serous epithelial ovarian carcinomas to assess the possibility of a miR signature associated with chemoresistance. We analyzed tumor samples from 198 patients (86 patients as a training set and 112 patients as a validation set) for human miRs. A signature of 23 miRs associated with chemoresistance was generated by array analysis in the training set. Quantitative RT-PCR in the validation set confirmed that three miRs (miR-484, -642, and -217) were able to predict chemoresistance of these tumors. Additional analysis of miR-484 revealed that the sensitive phenotype is caused by a modulation of tumor vasculature through the regulation of the VEGFB and VEGFR2 pathways. We present compelling evidence that three miRs can classify the response to chemotherapy of ovarian cancer patients in a large multicenter cohort and that one of these three miRs is involved in the control of tumor angiogenesis, indicating an option in the treatment of these patients. Our results suggest, in fact, that blockage of VEGF through the use of an anti-VEGFA antibody may not be sufficient to improve survival in ovarian cancer patients unless VEGFB signaling is also blocked.

Gylfe AE, Kondelin J, Turunen M, et al.
Identification of candidate oncogenes in human colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability.
Gastroenterology. 2013; 145(3):540-3.e22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Microsatellite instability can be found in approximately 15% of all colorectal cancers. To detect new oncogenes we sequenced the exomes of 25 colorectal tumors and respective healthy colon tissue. Potential mutation hot spots were confirmed in 15 genes; ADAR, DCAF12L2, GLT1D1, ITGA7, MAP1B, MRGPRX4, PSRC1, RANBP2, RPS6KL1, SNCAIP, TCEAL6, TUBB6, WBP5, VEGFB, and ZBTB2; these were validated in 86 tumors with microsatellite instability. ZBTB2, RANBP2, and PSRC1 also were found to contain hot spot mutations in the validation set. The form of ZBTB2 associated with colorectal cancer increased cell proliferation. The mutation hot spots might be used to develop personalized tumor profiling and therapy.

Pringels S, Van Damme N, De Craene B, et al.
Clinical procedure for colon carcinoma tissue sampling directly affects the cancer marker-capacity of VEGF family members.
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12:515 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: mRNA levels of members of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor family (VEGF-A, -B, -C, -D, Placental Growth Factor/PlGF) have been investigated as tissue-based markers of colon cancer. These studies, which used specimens obtained by surgical resection or colonoscopic biopsy, yielded contradictory results. We studied the effect of the sampling method on the marker accuracy of VEGF family members.
METHODS: Comparative RT-qPCR analysis was performed on healthy colon and colon carcinoma samples obtained by biopsy (n = 38) or resection (n = 39) to measure mRNA expression levels of individual VEGF family members. mRNA levels of genes encoding the eicosanoid enzymes cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) and of genes encoding the hypoxia markers glucose transporter 1 (GLUT-1) and carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) were included as markers for cellular stress and hypoxia.
RESULTS: Expression levels of COX2, 5-LOX, GLUT-1 and CAIX revealed the occurrence in healthy colon resection samples of hypoxic cellular stress and a concurrent increment of basal expression levels of VEGF family members. This increment abolished differential expression of VEGF-B and VEGF-C in matched carcinoma resection samples and created a surgery-induced underexpression of VEGF-D. VEGF-A and PlGF showed strong overexpression in carcinoma samples regardless of the sampling method.
CONCLUSIONS: Sampling-induced hypoxia in resection samples but not in biopsy samples affects the marker-reliability of VEGF family members. Therefore, biopsy samples provide a more accurate report on VEGF family mRNA levels. Furthermore, this limited expression analysis proposes VEGF-A and PlGF as reliable, sampling procedure insensitive mRNA-markers for molecular diagnosis of colon cancer.

Linardou H, Kalogeras KT, Kronenwett R, et al.
The prognostic and predictive value of mRNA expression of vascular endothelial growth factor family members in breast cancer: a study in primary tumors of high-risk early breast cancer patients participating in a randomized Hellenic Cooperative Oncology Group trial.
Breast Cancer Res. 2012; 14(6):R145 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The main prognostic variables in early breast cancer are tumor size, histological grade, estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor (ER/PgR) status, number of positive nodes and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status. The present study evaluated the prognostic and/or predictive value of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family members in high-risk early breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemo-hormonotherapy.
METHODS: RNA was isolated from 308 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded primary tumor samples from breast cancer patients enrolled in the HE10/97 trial, evaluating adjuvant dose-dense sequential chemotherapy with epirubicin followed by cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, fluorouracil (CMF) with or without paclitaxel (E-T-CMF versus E-CMF). A fully automated method based on magnetic beads was applied for RNA extraction, followed by one-step quantitative RT-PCR for mRNA analysis of VEGF-A, -B, -C and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) 1, 2, 3.
RESULTS: With a median follow-up of 8 years, 109 patients (35%) developed a relapse and 80 patients (26%) died. In high VEGF-C and VEGFR1 mRNA expressing tumors, ER/PgR-negative tumors (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.001 and P = 0.021, respectively) and HER2-positive tumors (P <0.001 and P = 0.028, respectively) were more frequent than in low VEGF-C and VEGFR1 expressing tumors, respectively. From the VEGF family members evaluated, high VEGFR1 mRNA expression (above the 75th percentile) emerged as a significant negative prognostic factor for overall survival (OS; hazard ratio (HR) = 1.60, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01 to 2.55, Wald's P = 0.047) and disease-free survival (DFS; HR = 1.67, 95% CI: 1.13 to 2.48, P = 0.010), when adjusting for treatment group. High VEGF-C mRNA expression was predictive for benefit from adjuvant treatment with paclitaxel (E-T-CMF arm) for OS (test for interaction, Wald's P = 0.038), while in multivariate analysis the interaction of VEGF-C with taxane treatment was significant for both OS (Wald's P = 0.019) and DFS (P = 0.041) and continuous VEGF-B mRNA expression values for OS (P = 0.019).
CONCLUSIONS: The present study reports, for the first time, that VEGF-C mRNA overexpression, as assessed by qRT-PCR, has a strong predictive value in high-risk early breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant paclitaxel-containing treatment. Further studies are warranted to validate the prognostic and/or predictive value of VEGF-B, VEGF-C and VEGFR1 in patients treated with adjuvant therapies and to reveal which members of the VEGF family could possibly be useful markers in identifying patients who will benefit most from anti-VEGF strategies.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12611000506998.

Angelescu C, Burada F, Ioana M, et al.
VEGF-A and VEGF-B mRNA expression in gastro-oesophageal cancers.
Clin Transl Oncol. 2013; 15(4):313-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Angiogenesis is essential for the local growth, invasion and metastasis of the tumours. Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) play a crucial role in tumour angiogenesis. The aim of our study was to quantify the expression of several VEGF family molecules in human gastro-oesophageal cancers and to analyse possible correlations between genes expression and clinico-pathological features.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Gene expression was quantified in 43 gastro-oesophageal paired samples using qRT-PCR with TaqMan probes specific to VEGF-A, including soluble transcript variants and VEGF-B genes.
RESULTS: VEGF-A, including the studied splice variants and VEGF-B mRNAs were expressed in both tumour and peritumour mucosa. The expression of VEGF-A and its isoforms was higher in tumour compared with paired peritumour mucosa, while no significant difference was observed in VEGF-B expression. VEGF-A expression tended to correlate with tumour invasion.
CONCLUSION: VEGF-A has a tendency to over-express in gastro-oesophageal cancers, while VEGF-B does not seem involved in these tumours. Further studies are required to establish the utility of anti-VEGF-A therapy and to find biomarkers for pathogenesis or response to therapy in gastro-oesophageal tumours.

Amin EM, Oltean S, Hua J, et al.
WT1 mutants reveal SRPK1 to be a downstream angiogenesis target by altering VEGF splicing.
Cancer Cell. 2011; 20(6):768-80 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Angiogenesis is regulated by the balance of proangiogenic VEGF(165) and antiangiogenic VEGF(165)b splice isoforms. Mutations in WT1, the Wilms' tumor suppressor gene, suppress VEGF(165)b and cause abnormal gonadogenesis, renal failure, and Wilms' tumors. In WT1 mutant cells, reduced VEGF(165)b was due to lack of WT1-mediated transcriptional repression of the splicing-factor kinase SRPK1. WT1 bound to the SRPK1 promoter, and repressed expression through a specific WT1 binding site. In WT1 mutant cells SRPK1-mediated hyperphosphorylation of the oncogenic RNA binding protein SRSF1 regulated splicing of VEGF and rendered WT1 mutant cells proangiogenic. Altered VEGF splicing was reversed by wild-type WT1, knockdown of SRSF1, or SRPK1 and inhibition of SRPK1, which prevented in vitro and in vivo angiogenesis and associated tumor growth.

Osawa T, Muramatsu M, Wang F, et al.
Increased expression of histone demethylase JHDM1D under nutrient starvation suppresses tumor growth via down-regulating angiogenesis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011; 108(51):20725-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Histone demethylase JHDM1D (also known as KDM7A) modifies the level of methylation in histone and participates in epigenetic gene regulation; however, the role of JHDM1D in tumor progression is unknown. Here, we show that JHDM1D plays a tumor-suppressive role by regulating angiogenesis. Expression of JHDM1D was increased in mouse and human cancer cells under long-term nutrient starvation in vitro. Expression of JHDM1D mRNA was increased within avascular tumor tissue at the preangiogenic switch, along with increased expression of angiogenesis-regulating genes such as Vegf-A. Stable expression of JHDM1D cDNA or siRNA silencing of JHDM1D in cancer cells did not affect cell proliferation, anchorage-independent cell growth, or cell cycle progression in vitro. Notably, JHDM1D-expressing mouse melanoma (B16) and human cervical carcinoma (HeLa) cells exhibited significantly slower tumor growth in vivo compared with the original cells. This reduction in tumor growth was associated with decreased formation of CD31(+) blood vessels and reduced infiltration of CD11b(+) macrophage linage cells into tumor tissues. Expression of multiple angiogenic factors such as VEGF-B and angiopoietins was decreased in tumor xenografts of JHDM1D-expressing B16 and HeLa cells. Our results provide evidence that increased JHDM1D expression suppressed tumor growth by down-regulating angiogenesis under nutrient starvation.

Huining L, Jingting C, Keren H
Metastasis gene expression analyses of choriocarcinoma and the effect of silencing metastasis-associated genes on metastatic ability of choriocarcinoma cells.
Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 2011; 32(3):264-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Obtaining choriocarcinoma metastasis-associated genes and identifying the role and mechanism of VEGF-B in the progression of human choriocarcinoma.
STUDY DESIGN: (1) cDNA microarray technique was used to compare the transcriptional profiles between highly metastatic JEG-3 cells and lowly metastatic JAR cells; (2) An inhibitory effect of VEGF-B shRNA was demonstrated by RT-PCR; (3) The effect of VEGF-B shRNA on invasion of JEG-3 cells in vitro was detected by Matrigel invasion assay.
RESULTS: (1) In upregulated genes, 51 genes were correlated with the cell metastasis ability, and FN, MMP-2, uPA, CAV-1 and VEGF-B were the first five genes; (2) Afterwards transfected VEGF-B shRNA, VEGF-B mRNA expression decreased obviously; (3) VEGF-B shRNA transfection significantly downregulated invasion level of JEG-3 cells in vitro (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: VEGF-B plays an important role in the metastatic capability of human choriocarcinoma. Reducing the expression of VEGF-B can help weaken the invasion ability of human choriocarcinoma.

Lowrie AG, Dickinson P, Wheelhouse N, et al.
Proteolysis-inducing factor core peptide mediates dermcidin-induced proliferation of hepatic cells through multiple signalling networks.
Int J Oncol. 2011; 39(3):709-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
Dermcidin is a candidate oncogene capable of increasing the number of cultured neuronal, breast cancer and prostate cancer cells and improving the survival of hepatic cells. The dermcidin gene encodes the proteolysis-inducing factor core peptide (PIF-CP) and the skin antimicrobial peptide DCD-1. The peptide responsible for inducing proliferation of cells and the mechanisms involved are unknown. In this study, we confirmed a proliferative effect of dermcidin overexpression of 20% (p<0.02) in the HuH7 human hepatic cell line. Proliferation was abrogated by prevention of PIF-CP translation or inactivation of its calcineurin-like phosphatase domain by site-directed mutagenesis. Prevention of DCD-1 translation had no effect. Treatment of cells with a 30 amino acid synthetic PIF-CP induced an analogous increase in proliferation of 14%. Microarray analysis of PIF-CP-treated cells revealed low but significant changes in 111 potential mediator genes. Pathway analysis revealed several gene networks involved in the cellular response to the peptide, one with VEGFB as a hub and two other networks converging on FOS and MYC. Quantitative PCR confirmed direct upregulation of VEGFB. These data reveal PIF-CP as the key mediator of dermcidin-induced proliferation and demonstrate induction of key oncogenic pathways.

Albrecht I, Kopfstein L, Strittmatter K, et al.
Suppressive effects of vascular endothelial growth factor-B on tumor growth in a mouse model of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumorigenesis.
PLoS One. 2010; 5(11):e14109 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The family of vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) contains key regulators of blood and lymph vessel development, including VEGF-A, -B, -C, -D, and placental growth factor. The role of VEGF-B during physiological or pathological angiogenesis has not yet been conclusively delineated. Herein, we investigate the function of VEGF-B by the generation of mouse models of cancer with transgenic expression of VEGF-B or homozygous deletion of Vegfb.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Ectopic expression of VEGF-B in the insulin-producing β-cells of the pancreas did not alter the abundance or architecture of the islets of Langerhans. The vasculature from transgenic mice exhibited a dilated morphology, but was of similar density as that of wildtype mice. Unexpectedly, we found that transgenic expression of VEGF-B in the RIP1-Tag2 mouse model of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumorigenesis retarded tumor growth. Conversely, RIP1-Tag2 mice deficient for Vegfb presented with larger tumors. No differences in vascular density, perfusion or immune cell infiltration upon altered Vegfb gene dosage were noted. However, VEGF-B acted to increase blood vessel diameter both in normal pancreatic islets and in RIP1-Tag2 tumors.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, our results illustrate the differences in biological function between members of the VEGF family, and highlight the necessity of in-depth functional studies of VEGF-B to fully understand the effects of VEGFR-1 inhibitors currently used in the clinic.

de Nigris F, Crudele V, Giovane A, et al.
CXCR4/YY1 inhibition impairs VEGF network and angiogenesis during malignancy.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010; 107(32):14484-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor growth requires neoangiogenesis. VEGF is the most potent proangiogenic factor. Dysregulation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) or cytokine stimuli such as those involving the chemokine receptor 4/stromal-derived cell factor 1 (CXCR4/SDF-1) axis are the major cause of ectopic overexpression of VEGF in tumors. Although the CXCR4/SDF-1 pathway is well characterized, the transcription factors executing the effector function of this signaling are poorly understood. The multifunctional Yin Yang 1 (YY1) protein is highly expressed in different types of cancers and may regulate some cancer-related genes. The network involving CXCR4/YY1 and neoangiogenesis could play a major role in cancer progression. In this study we have shown that YY1 forms an active complex with HIF-1alpha at VEGF gene promoters and increases VEGF transcription and expression observed by RT-PCR, ELISA, and Western blot using two different antibodies against VEGFB. Long-term treatment with T22 peptide (a CXCR4/SDF-1 inhibitor) and YY1 silencing can reduce in vivo systemic neoangiogenesis (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05 vs. control, respectively) during metastasis. Moreover, using an in vitro angiogenesis assay, we observed that YY1 silencing led to a 60% reduction in branches (P < 0.01) and tube length (P < 0.02) and a 75% reduction in tube area (P < 0.001) compared with control cells. A similar reduction was observed using T22 peptide. We demonstrated that T22 peptide determines YY1 cytoplasmic accumulation by reducing its phosphorylation via down-regulation of AKT, identifying a crosstalk mechanism involving CXCR4/YY1. Thus, YY1 may represent a crucial molecular target for antiangiogenic therapy during cancer progression.

Subbarayan PR, Sarkar M, Impellizzeri S, et al.
Anti-proliferative and anti-cancer properties of Achyranthes aspera: specific inhibitory activity against pancreatic cancer cells.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2010; 131(1):78-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS OF THE STUDY: Achyranthes aspera (Family: Amaranthacea) is a medicinal plant used as an anti-cancer agent in ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine practiced in subcontinental India. The aim of the study was to systematically investigate the anti-proliferative properties of Achyranthes aspera leaves extracted in methanol (LE) on human cancer cells in vitro.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We tested time, dose dependent and specific anti-proliferative activity of LE by clonogenic cell survival assay on human cancer and normal epithelial cell lines in vitro. We further investigated its effect on the expression of metastatic and angiogenic genes by real time polymerase chain reaction. On silica gel column, we carried out initial fractionation analysis.
RESULTS: LE exhibited time and dose dependent cytotoxicity on several tumor cells. Compared to cancer cells of colon, breast, lung and prostate origin, pancreatic cancer cells were significantly more sensitive to LE. Preliminary mechanistic studies suggested that LE selectively suppressed the transcription of metalloproteases (MMP-1 and -2), inhibitors of MMPs (TIMP-2) and angiogenic factors (VEGF-A and VEGF-B). Fractionation of LE on methanol equilibrated silica gel column resolved into three fractions of which fraction (F 3) was found to be enriched with anti-proliferative activity.
CONCLUSION: Methanolic extract of Achyranthes aspera contains potent anti-proliferative compound with specific activity against pancreatic cancer. Further studies are needed to confirm the in vivo anti-tumorigenicity and subsequent chemical characterization of the active molecule(s).

Andersson MK, Göransson M, Olofsson A, et al.
Nuclear expression of FLT1 and its ligand PGF in FUS-DDIT3 carrying myxoid liposarcomas suggests the existence of an intracrine signaling loop.
BMC Cancer. 2010; 10:249 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The FUS-DDIT3 fusion oncogene encodes an abnormal transcription factor that has a causative role in the development of myxoid/round-cell liposarcomas (MLS/RCLS). We have previously identified FLT1 (VEGFR1) as a candidate downstream target gene of FUS-DDIT3. The aim of this study was to investigate expression of FLT1 and its ligands in MLS cells.
METHODS: HT1080 human fibrosarcoma cells were transiently transfected with FUS-DDIT3-GFP variant constructs and FLT1 expression was measured by quantitative real-time PCR. In addition, FLT1, PGF, VEGFA and VEGFB expression was measured in MLS/RCLS cell lines, MLS/RCLS tumors and in normal adiopocytes. We analyzed nine cases of MLS/RCLS and one cell line xenografted in mice for FLT1 protein expression using immunohistochemistry. MLS/RCLS cell lines were also analyzed for FLT1 by immunofluorescence and western blot. MLS/RCLS cell lines were additionally treated with FLT1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors and assayed for alterations in proliferation rate.
RESULTS: FLT1 expression was dramatically increased in transfected cells stably expressing FUS-DDIT3 and present at high levels in cell lines derived from MLS. The FLT1 protein showed a strong nuclear expression in cells of MLS tissue as well as in cultured MLS cells, which was confirmed by cellular fractionation. Tissue array analysis showed a nuclear expression of the FLT1 protein also in several other tumor and normal cell types including normal adipocytes. The FLT1 ligand coding gene PGF was highly expressed in cultured MLS cells compared to normal adipocytes while the other ligand genes VEGFA and VEGFB were expressed to lower levels. A more heterogeneous expression pattern of these genes were observed in tumor samples. No changes in proliferation rate of MLS cells were detected at concentrations for which the kinase inhibitors have shown specific inhibition of FLT1.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results imply that FLT1 is induced as an indirect downstream effect of FUS-DDIT3 expression in MLS. This could be a consequence of the ability of FUS-DDIT3 to hijack parts of normal adipose tissue development and reprogram primary cells to a liposarcoma-like phenotype. The findings of nuclear FLT1 protein and expression of corresponding ligands in MLS and normal tissues may have implications for tissue homeostasis and tumor development through auto- or intracrine signaling.

Baty F, Facompré M, Kaiser S, et al.
Gene profiling of clinical routine biopsies and prediction of survival in non-small cell lung cancer.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010; 181(2):181-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
RATIONALE: Global gene expression analysis provides a comprehensive molecular characterization of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the feasibility of integrating expression profiling into routine clinical work-up by including both surgical and minute bronchoscopic biopsies and to develop a robust prognostic gene expression signature.
METHODS: Tissue samples from 41 chemotherapy-naive patients with NSCLC and 15 control patients with inflammatory lung diseases were obtained during routine clinical work-up and gene expression profiles were gained using an oligonucleotide array platform (NovaChip; 34'207 transcripts). Gene expression signatures were analyzed for correlation with histological and clinical parameters and validated on independent published data sets and immunohistochemistry.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Diagnostic signatures for adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma reached a sensitivity of 80%/80% and a specificity of 83%/94%, respectively, dependent on the proportion of tumor cells. Sixty-seven of the 100 most discriminating genes were validated with independent observations from the literature. A 13-gene metagene refined on four external data sets was built and validated on an independent data set. The metagene was a strong predictor of survival in our data set (hazard ratio = 7.7, 95% CI [2.8-21.2]) and in the independent data set (hazard ratio = 1.6, 95% CI [1.2-2.2]) and in both cases independent of the International Union against Cancer staging. Vascular endothelial growth factor-beta, one of the key prognostic genes, was further validated by immunohistochemistry on 508 independent tumor samples.
CONCLUSIONS: Integration of functional genomics from small bronchoscopic biopsies allows molecular tumor classification and prediction of survival in NSCLC and might become a powerful adjunct for the daily clinical practice.

Fauconnet S, Bernardini S, Lascombe I, et al.
Expression analysis of VEGF-A and VEGF-B: relationship with clinicopathological parameters in bladder cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2009; 21(6):1495-504 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present investigation was conducted first to determine whether correlation exists between VEGF-A and -B mRNA levels and clinicopathological parameters and to assess their prognostic value in bladder cancer, then to clarify the expression level and biological significance of VEGF-A isoforms. Total RNA was isolated from 37 specimens of bladder cancer. Northern blot analysis revealed that VEGF-B mRNA was not expressed either in normal urothelium or in bladder cancer and detected three VEGF-A transcripts of 5.2, 4.5 and 1.7 kb in length, respectively. The VEGF-A transcript levels were greater in cancer tissues than in normal urothelium. They were significantly higher in pT2-T4 than in pTa and pT1 urothelial tumors and thus, were correlated to the pathologic stage. Contrary to the 4.5 kb transcript, elevated expression of the 5.2 and 1.7 kb transcripts was correlated with the histologic grade and the presence of carcinoma in situ. Patients with higher VEGF-A mRNA levels had a significantly shorter survival without progression compared to those with lower levels. Three VEGF-A splice variants were detected by southern blotting namely, VEGF121, 165 and 189. The expression intensity of each isoform was evaluated by quantitative real-time RT-PCR in 20 new fresh frozen recent tumors. VEGF121 and VEGF165 were expressed at the similar level. On the contrary, they were significantly more expressed than VEGF189 (p<0.05). The three isoforms were higher expressed in pT2 bladder cancers than in pTa tumors (p<0.05). There was only a significant correlation between the increased expression level of VEGF121 and 165 and the histological grade of the lesion (p<0.05). To conclude, VEGF-A mRNA level is a potential prognostic indicator of progression in bladder cancer as well as the expression level of the different VEGF-A splice variants.

Laurell C, Velázquez-Fernández D, Lindsten K, et al.
Transcriptional profiling enables molecular classification of adrenocortical tumours.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2009; 161(1):141-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Tumours in the adrenocortex are common human tumours. Malignancy is however, rare, the yearly incidence being 0.5-2 per million inhabitants, but associated with a very aggressive behaviour. Adrenocortical tumours are often associated with altered hormone production with a variety of clinical symptoms. The aggressiveness of carcinomas together with the high frequency of adenomas calls for a deeper understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms and an improvement of the diagnostic possibilities.
METHODS: Microarray gene expression analysis was performed in tumours of adrenocortex with emphasis on malignancy as well as hormonal activity. The sample set consisted of 17 adenomas, 11 carcinomas and 4 histological normal adrenocortexes. RNA from these was hybridised according to a reference design on microarrays harbouring 29 760 human cDNA clones. Confirmation was performed with quantitative real time-PCR and western blot analysis.
RESULTS: Unsupervised clustering to reveal relationships between samples based on the entire gene expression profile resulted in two subclusters; carcinomas and non-cancer specimens. A large number of genes were accordingly found to be differentially expressed comparing carcinomas to adenomas. Among these were IGF2, FGFR1 and FGFR4 in growth factor signalling the most predominant and also the USP4, UBE2C and UFD1L in the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Moreover, two subgroups of carcinomas were identified with different survival outcome, suggesting that survival prediction can be made on the basis of gene expression profiles. Regarding adenomas with aldosterone overproduction, OSBP and VEGFB were among the most up-regulated genes compared with the other samples.
CONCLUSIONS: Adrenocortical carcinomas are associated with a distinct molecular signature apparent in their gene expression profiles. Differentially expressed genes were identified associated with malignancy, survival as well as hormonal activity providing a resource of candidate genes for an exploration of possible drug targets and diagnostic and prognostic markers.

Strauss LG, Koczan D, Klippel S, et al.
Impact of angiogenesis-related gene expression on the tracer kinetics of 18F-FDG in colorectal tumors.
J Nucl Med. 2008; 49(8):1238-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: 18F-FDG kinetics are primarily dependent on the expression of genes associated with glucose transporters and hexokinases but may be modulated by other genes. The dependency of 18F-FDG kinetics on angiogenesis-related gene expression was evaluated in this study.
METHODS: Patients with primary colorectal tumors (n = 25) were examined with PET and 18F-FDG within 2 days before surgery. Tissue specimens were obtained from the tumor and the normal colon during surgery, and gene expression was assessed using gene arrays.
RESULTS: Overall, 23 angiogenesis-related genes were identified with a tumor-to-normal ratio exceeding 1.50. Analysis revealed a significant correlation between k1 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A, r = 0.51) and between fractal dimension and angiopoietin-2 (r = 0.48). k3 was negatively correlated with VEGF-B (r = -0.46), and a positive correlation was noted for angiopoietin-like 4 gene (r = 0.42). A multiple linear regression analysis was used for the PET parameters to predict the gene expression, and a correlation coefficient of r = 0.75 was obtained for VEGF-A and of r = 0.76 for the angiopoietin-2 expression. Thus, on the basis of these multiple correlation coefficients, angiogenesis-related gene expression contributes to about 50% of the variance of the 18F-FDG kinetic data. The global 18F-FDG uptake, as measured by the standardized uptake value and influx, was not significantly correlated with angiogenesis-associated genes.
CONCLUSION: 18F-FDG kinetics are modulated by angiogenesis-related genes. The transport rate for 18F-FDG (k1) is higher in tumors with a higher expression of VEGF-A and angiopoietin-2. The regression functions for the PET parameters provide the possibility to predict the gene expression of VEGF-A and angiopoietin-2.

Mas VR, Maluf DG, Archer KJ, et al.
Angiogenesis soluble factors as hepatocellular carcinoma noninvasive markers for monitoring hepatitis C virus cirrhotic patients awaiting liver transplantation.
Transplantation. 2007; 84(10):1262-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Physiological angiogenesis occurs during liver regeneration, leading to the formation of new functional sinusoids. Pathological angiogenesis occurs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We aimed to evaluate the expression of angiogenic factors in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-HCC tissues and the utility of angiogenesis soluble factors as noninvasive markers of HCC and tumor growth.
METHODS: Thirty-eight HCV-HCC tumors with 10 corresponding nontumor cirrhotic tissues, as well as 42 independent HCV cirrhotic and 6 normal liver tissues were studied using high-density oligonucleotide arrays. Human angiogenesis microarray was used for the protein detection of EGF, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, HGF, angiopn-1, angiopn-2, VEGF-A, IP-10, PDGF, KGF, angiogenin, VEGF-D, ICAM-1, and FGF in plasma samples from 40 patients (30 HCCs and 10 HCV cirrhosis).
RESULTS: From the gene expression analysis of the HCV-HCC tumors compared to normal livers, we found an important number of genes related to angiogenesis differentially expressed (alpha=0.01), including VEGF, PDGF, AGPTL2, ANG, EGFL6, EGFR, angiopn-1, angiopn-2, ICAM2, TIMP-2, among others. Moreover, angiogenic genes were also differentially expressed when HCV-HCC samples were compared to HCV cirrhotic tissues (alpha=0.01; VEGF, EGFL3, EGFR, VEGFB, among others). Ten out of 14 angiogenic proteins analyzed were statistically differentially expressed between HCV cirrhosis and HCV-HCC groups (TIMP-1, TIMP-2, HGF, angiopn-1, angiopn-2, VEGF-A, IP-10, PDGF, KGF, and FGF; P<0.05). In addition, we observed that angiopn-2 was the most significant predictor (area under the curve: 0.83).
CONCLUSION: Differentially expressed angiogenesis genes were observed between HCV patients with and without HCC. Soluble angiogenic factors might be useful for monitoring high-risk HCV patients.

Zohrabian VM, Nandu H, Gulati N, et al.
Gene expression profiling of metastatic brain cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2007; 18(2):321-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gene expression profiling of metastatic brain tumors from primary lung adenocarcinoma, using a 17k-expression array, revealed that 1561 genes were consistently altered. Further functional classification placed the genes into seven categories: cell cycle and DNA damage repair, apoptosis, signal transduction molecules, transcription factors, invasion and metastasis, adhesion, and angiogenesis. Genes involved in apoptosis, such as caspase 2 (CASP2), transforming growth factor-beta inducible early gene (TIEG), and neuroprotective heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) were underexpressed in metastatic brain tumors. Alterations in Rho GTPases (ARHGAP26, ARHGAP1), as well as down-regulation of the metastasis suppressor gene KiSS-1 were noted, which may contribute to tumor aggression. Overexpression of the invasion-related gene neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1), and angiogenesis-related genes vascular endothelial growth factor-B (VEGF-B) and placental growth factor (PGF) was also evidenced. Brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitors 1 and 3 (BAI1 and BAI3) were underexpressed as well. Examination of cell-adhesion and migration-related genes revealed an increased expression of integrins and extracellular matrices collagen and laminin. The study also showed alterations in p53 protein-associated genes, among these increased gene expression of p53, up-regulation of Reprimo or candidate mediator of the p53-dependent G2-arrest, down-regulation of p53-regulated apoptosis-inducing protein 1 (p53AIP1), decreased expression of tumor protein inducible nuclear protein 1 (p53DINP1), and down-regulation of Mdm4 (MDMX). The results demonstrated that genes involved in adhesion, motility, and angiogenesis were consistently up-regulated in metastatic brain tumors, while genes involved in apoptosis, neuroprotection, and suppression of angiogenesis were markedly down-regulated, collectively making these cancer cells prone to metastasis.

Abdelrahim M, Baker CH, Abbruzzese JL, et al.
Regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 expression by specificity proteins 1, 3, and 4 in pancreatic cancer cells.
Cancer Res. 2007; 67(7):3286-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 (VEGFR1) is expressed in cancer cell lines and tumors and, in pancreatic and colon cancer cells, activation of VEGFR1 is linked to increased tumor migration and invasiveness. Tolfenamic acid, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, decreases Sp protein expression in Panc-1 and L3.6pl pancreatic cancer cells, and this was accompanied by decreased VEGFR1 protein and mRNA and decreased luciferase activity on cells transfected with constructs (pVEGFR1) containing VEGFR1 promoter inserts. Comparable results were obtained in pancreatic cancer cells transfected with small inhibitory RNAs for Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 and all three proteins bound to GC-rich elements in the VEGFR1 promoter. These results show that VEGFR1 is regulated by Sp proteins and that treatment with tolfenamic acid decreases expression of this critical angiogenic factor. Moreover, in vitro studies in Panc-1 cells show that activation of VEGFR1 by VEGFB to increase mitogen-activated protein kinase 1/2 phosphorylation and cell migration on collagen-coated plates is also inhibited by tolfenamic acid. Thus, targeted degradation of Sp proteins is highly effective for inhibiting VEGFR1 and associated angiogenic responses in pancreatic cancer.

Roskoski R
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling in tumor progression.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2007; 62(3):179-213 [PubMed] Related Publications
Vascular endothelial cells are ordinarily quiescent in adult humans and divide less than once per decade. When tumors reach a size of about 0.2-2.0mm in diameter, they become hypoxic and limited in size in the absence of angiogenesis. There are about 30 endogenous pro-angiogenic factors and about 30 endogenous anti-angiogenic factors. In order to increase in size, tumors undergo an angiogenic switch where the action of pro-angiogenic factors predominates, resulting in angiogenesis and tumor progression. One mechanism for driving angiogenesis results from the increased production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) following up-regulation of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor. The human VEGF family consists of VEGF (VEGF-A), VEGF-B, VEGF-C, VEGF-D, and placental growth factor (PlGF). The VEGF family of receptors consists of three protein-tyrosine kinases and two non-protein kinase receptors (neuropilin-1 and -2). Owing to the importance of angiogenesis in tumor progression, inhibition of VEGF signaling represents an attractive cancer treatment.

Matsumura S, Oue N, Mitani Y, et al.
DNA demethylation of vascular endothelial growth factor-C is associated with gene expression and its possible involvement of lymphangiogenesis in gastric cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2007; 120(8):1689-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previous studies have indicated that lymphangiogenesis in solid tumors is associated with lymphatic metastasis. Overexpression of Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C plays a major role in lymphangiogenesis in cancers. In the present study, DNA methylation and expression of the VEGF-C gene was investigated in gastric cancer (GC). Four GC cell lines (MKN-45, MKN-74, HSC-39 and HSC-43) showed no expression of VEGF-C, and the VEGF-C gene was found to be methylated in these cells. In contrast, 7 GC cell lines (MKN-1, MKN-7, MKN-28, TMK-1, KATO-III, SH101-P4 and HSC-44PE) expressed VEGF-C, and the VEGF-C gene was found to be unmethylated in these cell lines. In addition, expression of VEGF-C mRNA was retrieved by treatment with a demethylating agent, Aza-2'-deoxycytidine. In GC tissue samples, bisulfite DNA sequencing analysis revealed that VEGF-C was not methylated in 9 (29.0%) of 31 GC samples, whereas demethylation was not observed in corresponding non-neoplastic mucosa samples. Overexpression of VEGF-C mRNA was observed in 16 (51.6%) of 31 GC samples by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Of the 9 GC cases with VEGF-C demethylation, 8 (88.9%) overexpressed VEGF-C. In contrast, of the 22 GC cases without VEGF-C demethylation, 8 (36.4%) overexpressed VEGF-C (p = 0.0155). Furthermore, lymphatic vessel density determined by immunostaining of podoplanin in GC tissues was associated with overexpression of VEGF-C (p < 0.0001). These results suggest that demethylation and activation of the VEGF-C gene is likely involved in lymphangiogenesis in GC.

Notting IC, Missotten GS, Sijmons B, et al.
Angiogenic profile of uveal melanoma.
Curr Eye Res. 2006; 31(9):775-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma develops in one of the most capillary-rich tissues of the body and is disseminated hematogenously. Knowledge of the nature and the spatiotemporal expression of angiogenic factors in uveal melanoma is essential to the development of new treatment strategies, especially with regard to improving survival. In this study, we measured the angiogenic potential of several angiogenic factors in different uveal melanoma cell lines, in an in vivo model, and in primary tumor material from patients with melanoma. Most uveal melanoma cell lines expressed vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A (isoforms 121, 165, 189), VEGF-B, VEGF-C, VEGF-D, and basic fibroblastic growth factor (b-FGF) to various extents. The expression of VEGF-A 121 was always higher than that of the other VEGF-A isoforms, suggesting that VEGF-A 121 is the most abundant VEGF-A isoform. All experimentally induced tumors expressed VEGF-A, VEGF-B, VEGF-C, VEGF-D, and basic fibroblastic growth factor (b-FGF). Similarly, significant amounts of mRNA for VEGF-B, VEGF-C, VEGF-D, and b-FGF were detected in uveal melanoma material from patients. In contrast, VEGF-A mRNA (121, 165, 189) was low (9/28) or not detectable in the tumor samples. The synthesis of VEGF-A 165 and b-FGF protein by various cell lines was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Most uveal melanoma cell lines, but not normal melanocytes, strongly synthesized and secreted VEGF-A 165 and b-FGF during cell culture. Our data suggest that the expression of (lymph) angiogenic factors may play a causal role in the angiogenesis and progression of uveal melanoma and distant metastasis.

Jenny B, Harrison JA, Baetens D, et al.
Expression and localization of VEGF-C and VEGFR-3 in glioblastomas and haemangioblastomas.
J Pathol. 2006; 209(1):34-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary human brain tumours account for approximately 2% of all cancers. High levels of expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), a potent angiogenic factor, are linked to poor prognosis. In contrast, the potential role in human brain tumour biology of newer VEGF family members, VEGF-C and VEGF-D, both of which are lymphangiogenic factors, is poorly understood. In the present study, the expression of all VEGFs (VEGF-A, -B, -C, and -D) and their receptors (VEGFR-1, -2, and -3) has been assessed in 39 primary human brain tumours. The well-established findings were confirmed with VEGF-A. Surprisingly, however, VEGF-C and VEGF-D, as well as VEGFR-3, were expressed in some tumour types such as haemangioblastomas and glioblastomas, despite their lack of lymphatic vessels. VEGF-C and VEGFR-3 transcripts were localized to the tumour palisade around necrotic areas in glioblastomas and were evenly distributed throughout haemangioblastomas. VEGF-C protein was localized by immunohistochemistry to the palisade layer in glioblastomas. More than 50% of VEGF-C-positive cells also expressed the intermediate-stage inflammatory macrophage marker CD163; however, a significant proportion of VEGF-C-positive cells were CD163-negative. These data demonstrate the presence of molecules, primarily described as regulators of lymphangiogenesis, in normal human brain and brain tumours that are devoid of lymphatics. Their localization in macrophages points to a role in tumour-associated inflammation.

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