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Cancer Res. 2002 Jan 15;62(2):603-8.

Overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor-A165 enhances tumor angiogenesis but not metastasis during beta-cell carcinogenesis.

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  • 1Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.


The pivotal role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) in the regulation of angiogenesis, in particular in the onset and maintenance of tumor angiogenesis, has been demonstrated repeatedly in experimental model systems and, more recently, in clinical trials. Experimental evidence has also suggested that up-regulated expression of VEGF-A may cooperate with other genetic or epigenetic changes to induce or accelerate tumor progression to invasive and metastatic cancers. Here we report the generation of transgenic mouse lines that express human VEGF-A165 under the control of the rat insulin promoter in the beta cells of pancreatic islets of Langerhans (Rip1VEGF-A). These mice do not exhibit detectable changes in islet development, vascularization, or physiology. Intercrosses of these mice with a transgenic mouse model of pancreatic beta cell carcinogenesis (Rip1Tag2) result in an earlier onset of tumor angiogenesis and with it accelerated tumor growth and mortality. The transition from benign tumors (adenoma) to malignant tumors (carcinoma) is modestly accelerated; however, tumor metastases are not observed. Our findings indicate that in beta-cell tumorigenesis, overexpression of VEGF-A165 accelerates the onset of tumor angiogenesis and with it tumor progression but is not sufficient to induce tumor metastasis.

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