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Ann Surg Oncol. 1997 Dec;4(8):621-7.

TGF beta-1 regulation of VEGF production by breast cancer cells.

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Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland.



Angiogenesis is essential for tumor growth and metastasis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the most potent angiogenic factor identified to date. TGF beta-1 acts as an indirect angiogenic agent.


VEGF and TGF beta-1 were measured in the serum of breast cancer patients and age-matched controls and in tumor tissue of cancer patients by ELISA. VEGF protein and mRNA expression by breast tumor cell lines were examined, and the effect of TGF beta-1 on VEGF production in these cells was assessed.


VEGF levels were significantly higher (P = .03) in the serum of patients with breast cancer compared to age-matched controls. A positive correlation was found between serum (r = 0.539) and tumor tissue (r = 0.688) levels of VEGF and TGF beta-1. Metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells produce more VEGF than do the primary BT474 cells. TGF beta-1 significantly (P < .05) increased production of VEGF.


Breast cancer cells constitutively produce VEGF protein and mRNA. There is a relationship between VEGF and TGF beta-1 levels in breast cancer patients, and TGF beta-1 regulates VEGF expression by breast cancer cells.

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