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Head Neck Oncol. 2012 May 16;4:22.

The use of specific anti-growth factor antibodies to abrogate the oncological consequences of transfusion in head & neck squamous cell carcinoma: an in vitro study.

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  • 1Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Chase Farm & Barnet NHS Trust, Enfield, UK.



Perioperative blood transfusion is associated with reduced prognosis in a number of solid malignancies. We investigate its role in a head & neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) cell lines. Growth of these cell lines was analogous to endothelial growth. Direct exposure to transfusion products exaggerated this effect. It was logical therefore to assess the effects of anti-endothelial antibodies on this interaction.


Control (HUVEC) and tumour cell lines were exposed to transfusion products. The pre-incubation of the transfusion product with anti-endothelial growth factors was assessed by a growth assay. Where appropriate cells were pre-incubated for 1 hour with 10 μl of a mixture of 100 μl of each and anti-ligand antibodies, the corresponding blood product supplement was incubated with 10 μl of a mixture of 100 μl each of anti-ligand antibodies 1 hour before supplementation to the appropriate cell line. All results are representative of at least two independent experiments carried out in triplicate.


The antibody did not directly reduce growth in the tumour cell line, however there was a significant reduction (p<0.001) in tumour cell line vascular mimicry caused by transfusion products pre-incubation with anti-endothelial growth factor antibody. This was found in several other tumours.


Perioperative blood transfusion is associated with reduced prognosis in a number of solid malignancies including HNSCC. However this phenomenon is abrogated by the use of anti-endothelial growth factor antibodies. This suggests that the original effect was mediated by the endothelial growth factor family.

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