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Kleespies, A.; Bruns, Christiane J.; Jauch, Karl-Walter (2005): Clinical significance of VEGF-A, -C and -D expression in esophageal malignancies. In: Onkologie, No. 5: pp. 281-288




Vascular endothelial growth factors ( VEGF)- A, - C and - D are members of the proangiogenic VEGF family of glycoproteins. VEGF-A is known to be the most important angiogenic factor under physiological and pathological conditions, while VEGF-C and VEGF-D are implicated in the development and sprouting of lymphatic vessels, so called lymphangiogenesis. Local tumor progression, lymph node metastases and hematogenous tumor spread are important prognostic factors for esophageal carcinoma ( EC), one of the most lethal malignancies throughout the world. We found solid evidence in the literature that VEGF expression contributes to tumor angiogenesis, tumor progression and lymph node metastasis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma ( SCC), and many authors could show a prognostic value for VEGF-assessment. In adenocarcinoma (AC) of the esophagus angiogenic properties are acquired in early stages, particularly in precancerous lesions like Barrett's dysplasia. However, VEGF expression fails to give prognostic information in AC of the esophagus. VEGF-C and VEGF-D were detected in SCC and dysplastic lesions, but not in normal mucosa of the esophagus. VEGF-C expression might be associated with lymphatic tumor invasion, lymph node metastases and advanced disease in esophageal SCC and AC. Therapeutic interference with VEGF signaling may prove to be a promising way of anti-angiogenic co-treatment in esophageal carcinoma. However, concrete clinical data are still pending.