Background: Nodal metastasis is a major prognostic indicator for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) progression. Recently, it has been revealed that lymphangiogenic growth factor VEGF-C and its receptor Flt-4 play an important role for invasion and metastasis in cancer cells.
Aim: To examine VEGF-C expression and its correlation with lymphatic status, including the number of lymph vessels and lymphatic invasion, tumour invasion and metastasis in OSCC.
Methods: Intratumoural and peritumoural lymphatic vessels were examined using D2-40 in 54 OSCC cases and correlated with VEGF-C expression and clinicopathological findings. The histological pattern of invasion and pathological findings were compared.
Results: High expression of VEGF-C was frequently observed in OSCC and was associated with increased number of lymph vessels and lymphatic invasion. VEGF-C was well correlated with invasion pattern and metastasis.
Conclusions: Results suggest that VEGF-C may play an important role for lymphangiogenesis and invasion in the metastatic process and can be a strong predicting factor for metastasis of OSCC.
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Competing interests: None declared.