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Br J Cancer. 2000 May;82(10):1694-701.

Angiogenically active vascular endothelial growth factor is over-expressed in malignant human and rat prostate carcinoma cells.

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Department of Haematology, University of Liverpool, UK.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the most potent factors for stimulating angiogenesis, an essential process required for expansion of primary tumour and dissemination of malignant cells. To investigate the possible role of VEGF in facilitating metastasis of prostate cancer via stimulating angiogenesis, we have used Northern and slot blotting, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, nucleotide sequence analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to compare the VEGF expression in series of human and rat cell lines with either benign or malignant characteristics. We have also employed the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay to measure the angiogenic activity of the VEGF derived from both benign and malignant cells. The level of VEGF mRNA expressed in the seven malignant human and rat cell lines is 3.5- to 10-fold higher than that expressed in the benign cell lines. The three metastatic variants, generated by transfection of a benign cell line with DNA extracted from prostate carcinoma cells, expressed 2.5 to 5 times more VEGF mRNA than their parental benign cells. While VEGF 121 and 165 were predominantly expressed by both the benign and malignant cells, the transcript representing VEGF 189 isoform was only detected in the malignant cells. At protein level, three human malignant cell lines produced more VEGF (2.7-7.9 ng ml(-1)) than the benign cell line (1.3 ng ml(-1)). CAM assay detected a VEGF-dependent angiogenic activity in the medium from malignant cells, but only a relatively weak VEGF-independent activity in the medium from benign cells. These results demonstrated that malignant cells did over-express VEGF and only the VEGF derived from malignant cells was angiogenically active. Thus, we suggest that the VEGF produced by malignant cells might play an important role in facilitating metastasis of prostatic cancer.

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