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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Jan 5;97(1):14-21.

Complete and specific inhibition of adult lymphatic regeneration by a novel VEGFR-3 neutralizing antibody.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology, ImClone Systems, New York, NY, USA.



New lymphatic growth may contribute to tumor metastasis. Activation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 (VEGFR-3) by its ligands VEGF-C and -D is necessary for embryonic and tumor lymphangiogenesis. However, the exact role of VEGFR-3 signaling in adult lymphangiogenesis and in lymphatic vessel survival and regeneration is unclear.


A novel rat monoclonal antibody to murine VEGFR-3, mF4-31C1, which potently antagonizes the binding of VEGF-C to VEGFR-3, was developed. We tested the effects of systemic mF4-31C1 administration in a mouse tail skin model of lymphatic regeneration, either with or without local overexpression of VEGF-C, and we observed lymphatic and blood vessel regeneration over time using microlymphangiography and immunostaining.


Normal mice regenerated complete and functional lymphatic vessels within 60 days of surgery. In athymic mice implanted with VEGF-C-overexpressing human breast carcinoma cells, lymphatic regeneration took place over 25 days and resulted in hyperplastic vessels. Under either condition, no lymphatic regeneration occurred in mice receiving mF4-31C1 during the regeneration period. Blood angiogenesis and preexisting lymphatic vessels were unaffected, both in morphology and in function.


Blocking VEGFR-3 completely and specifically prevented both physiologically normal and tumor VEGF-C-enhanced lymphangiogenesis in the adult mouse but had no effect on either blood angiogenesis or the survival or function of existing lymphatic vessels. Thus, targeting VEGFR-3 with specific inhibitors may block new lymphatic growth exclusively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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