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Cancer Res. 2008 Oct 1;68(19):7828-37. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-1488.

Suppression of prostate cancer nodal and systemic metastasis by blockade of the lymphangiogenic axis.

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Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-1738, USA.


Lymph node involvement denotes a poor outcome for patients with prostate cancer. Our group, along with others, has shown that initial tumor cell dissemination to regional lymph nodes via lymphatics also promotes systemic metastasis in mouse models. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of suppressive therapies targeting either the angiogenic or lymphangiogenic axis in inhibiting regional lymph node and systemic metastasis in subcutaneous and orthotopic prostate tumor xenografts. Both androgen-dependent and more aggressive androgen-independent prostate tumors were used in our investigations. Interestingly, we observed that the threshold for dissemination is lower in the vascular-rich prostatic microenvironment compared with subcutaneously grafted tumors. Both vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) ligand trap (sVEGFR-3) and antibody directed against VEGFR-3 (mF4-31C1) significantly reduced tumor lymphangiogenesis and metastasis to regional lymph nodes and distal vital organs without influencing tumor growth. Conversely, angiogenic blockade by short hairpin RNA against VEGF or anti-VEGFR-2 antibody (DC101) reduced tumor blood vessel density, significantly delayed tumor growth, and reduced systemic metastasis, although it was ineffective in reducing lymphangiogenesis or nodal metastasis. Collectively, these data clarify the utility of vascular therapeutics in prostate tumor growth and metastasis, particularly in the context of the prostate microenvironment. Our findings highlight the importance of lymphangiogenic therapies in the control of regional lymph node and systemic metastasis.

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