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Cancer Res. 1999 Feb 1;59(3):728-33.

Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptors in hematopoietic malignancies.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85724, USA.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays an important role in angiogenesis by acting as a potent inducer of vascular permeability as well as serving as a specific endothelial cell mitogen. The importance of angiogenic factors such as VEGF, although clearly established in solid tumors, has not been fully elucidated in human hematopoietic neoplasms. We examined the expression of mRNA and protein for VEGF in 12 human hematopoietic tumor cell lines, representing multiple lineages and diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Our results revealed that VEGF message was expressed in these cells and that the corresponding protein was secreted into the extracellular environment. Five of the 12 cell lines were also found to express the Flt-1 receptor for VEGF at a moderate to strong level, suggesting an autocrine pathway. When human vascular endothelial cells were exposed to recombinant human VEGF, there was an increase in the mRNA for several hematopoietic growth factors including macrophage colony-stimulating factor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and interleukin 6. Plasma cells in the bone marrow from patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma were found to express VEGF, whereas both the Flt-1 and KDR high affinity VEGF receptors were observed to be markedly elevated in the normal bone marrow myeloid and monocytic cells surrounding the tumor. These data raise the possibility that VEGF may play a role in the growth of hematopoietic neoplasms such as multiple myeloma through either a paracrine or an autocrine mechanism.

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