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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Apr;20(4):583-8.

Altered expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor-2 and endostatin in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Medicine and Medical Science, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Okayama, Japan.



Advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in humans is characterized by hypervascularity. In the present study, the expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) and endostatin were analyzed in patients with chronic liver disease to clarify the effect of these major angiogenic factors.


Serum concentrations of VEGF, FGF-2 and endostatin in 24 patients with HCC, 16 patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) and 13 healthy volunteers were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of VEGF in 21 surgically resected HCC samples was analyzed by immunohistochemistry, and that of VEGF isoforms in 15 HCC samples was assessed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).


Serum VEGF, FGF-2 and endostatin concentrations were significantly elevated in patients with HCC compared with healthy volunteers; but there was no significant difference between patients with HCC and those with non-HCC liver disease. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that VEGF protein was strongly expressed in both well-differentiated HCC cells and non-cancerous hepatocytes, whereas in moderately and poorly differentiated HCC the expression was stronger in the endothelial cells (EC) lining intratumor vessels than in the cancer cells. On RT-PCR for VEGF isoforms it was found that VEGF-121, VEGF-165 and VEGF-189 were expressed in all but one of the HCC samples and in all corresponding non-HCC samples.


The results suggest that VEGF, FGF-2, and endostatin concentrations are elevated prior to the emergence of HCC and that the distribution of VEGF changes dynamically during the development of HCC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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