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Clin Cancer Res. 1997 Aug;3(8):1309-16.

Enhanced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in human pancreatic cancer correlates with local disease progression.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, USA.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an angiogenic polypeptide that has been implicated in cancer growth. In the present study, we characterized VEGF expression in cultured human pancreatic cancer cell lines and determined whether the presence VEGF in human pancreatic cancers is associated with enhanced neovascularization or altered clinicopathological characteristics. VEGF mRNA transcripts were present in all six tested cell lines (ASPC-1, CAPAN-1, MIA-PaCa-2, PANC-1, COLO-357, and T3M4). Immunoblotting with a highly specific anti-VEGF antibody revealed the presence of VEGF protein in all of the cell lines. Northern blot analysis of total RNA revealed a 5.2-fold increase in VEGF mRNA transcript in the cancer samples in comparison with the normal pancreas. Immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization analysis confirmed the expression of VEGF in the cancer cells within the tumor mass. Immunohistochemical analysis of 75 pancreatic cancer tissues revealed the presence of strong VEGF immunoreactivity in the cancer cells in 64% of the cancer tissues. The presence of VEGF in these cells was associated with increased blood vessel number, larger tumor size, and enhanced local spread but not with decreased patient survival. These findings indicate that VEGF is commonly overexpressed in human pancreatic cancers and that this factor may contribute to the angiogenic process and tumor growth in this disorder.

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