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Blood. 2000 Jul 15;96(2):546-53.

Involvement of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 in maintenance of integrity of endothelial cell lining during tumor angiogenesis.

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  • 1Departments of Gastroenterological Surgery and Molecular Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a major role in tumor angiogenesis. VEGF-C, however, is thought to stimulate the growth of lymphatic vessels because an expression of its specific receptor, VEGF receptor-3 (VEGFR-3), was demonstrated to be restricted to lymphatic vessels. Here we demonstrate that the inactivation of VEGFR-3 by a novel blocking monoclonal antibody (mAb) suppresses tumor growth by inhibiting the neo-angiogenesis of tumor-bearing tissues. Although VEGFR-3 is not expressed in adult blood vessels, it is induced in vascular endothelial cells of the tumor-bearing tissues. Hence, VEGFR-3 is another receptor tyrosine kinase involved in tumor-induced angiogenesis. Micro-hemorrhage in the tumor-bearing tissue was the most conspicuous histologic finding specific to AFL4 mAb-treated mice. Scanning microscopy demonstrated disruptions of the endothelial lining of the postcapillary venule, probably the cause of micro-hemorrhage and the subsequent collapse of the proximal vessels. These findings suggest the involvement of VEGFR-3 in maintaining the integrity of the endothelial lining during angiogenesis. Moreover, our results suggest that the VEGF-C/VEGFR-3 pathway may serve another candidate target for cancer therapy. (Blood. 2000;96:546-553)

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