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Int J Oncol. 1999 Feb;14(2):353-9.

Vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor mRNA expression in patients with chronic hepatitis C and hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Division of Digestive Disease and Nutrition, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


Angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) may be involved in neovascularization of malignant tumors. Our aim was to determine whether there is an increased VEGF mRNA expression in liver from patients with HCC and premalignant hepatitis C virus (HCV) with differing severity of inflammation. VEGF mRNA (VEGF165, VEGF189) was detected by reverse transcription and semi-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplification in all liver samples. There was no difference in VEGF mRNA expression ratios (corrected for glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) among three groups: steatohepatitis, as a non-malignant non-viral control, 1. 05+/-0.35, n=8; chronic hepatitis C, 0.86+/-0.27, n=18; hepatocellular carcinoma, 1.06+/-0.43, n=10. VEGF mRNA expression was independent of the severity of HCV inflammation estimated by the histological activity index: low HAI (</=4, n=8) vs. high HAI (>/=10, n=10), 0.93+/-0.31 vs. 0.81+/-0.24, p=ns. There was no significant difference in mean VEGF expression between HCC tumor (1.06+/- 0.43) and adjacent tissue (0. 85+/-0.42) although the tumors tended to have higher expression than adjacent non-malignant tissues. In conclusion, all liver samples of steatohepatitis, chronic HCV infection and HCC expressed VEGF mRNA, VEGF mRNA may be uniformly expressed in liver tissue, the level of expression is probably not related to virus infection or the severity of inflammation. Other angiogenic or angiostatic factors might be more involved in angiogenesis in HCC.

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