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Prognostic significance and potential therapeutic target of VEGFR2 in hepatocellular carcinoma
  1. Jianfei Huang1,2,
  2. Xialing Zhang1,
  3. Qi Tang1,
  4. Feng Zhang1,
  5. Yuhua Li1,
  6. Zhenqing Feng1,
  7. Jin Zhu1,3
  1. 1Key Laboratory of Antibody Technique of Ministry of Health, Department of Pathology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China
  2. 2Surgical Comprehensive Laboratory, Department of Pathology, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China
  3. 3Huadong Medical Institute of Biotechniques, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Zhenqing Feng, Cancer Center and Key Laboratory of Antibody Technique of Ministry of Health, Nanjing Medical University, 140 Hanzhong Road, Nanjing 210029, Jiangsu, China; fengzhenqing{at}; and Jin Zhu Ph.D, Department of Pathology, Key Laboratory of Antibody Technique of Ministry of Health, Nanjing Medical University. Huadong Medical Institute of Biotechniques, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210002, China; zjsimmons{at}


Background Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) has been suggested to play an important role in solid tumours. Although several reports have shown the relationship between VEGFR2 expression and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the expression pattern of VEGFR2 in HCC parenchyma or stroma, as well as the relationship between VEGFR2 expression and clinicopathological characteristics in HCC, are yet to be satisfactorily defined.

Methods One-step real-time PCR, western blotting and immunohistochemistry were used to characterise the expression of VEGFR2 in HCC using a self-made anti-VEGFR2 monoclonal antibody (A8H1).

Results Expression of VEGFR2 in HCC cells was higher than in hepatic cells (p<0.001). Comparison of clinicopathological characteristics and immunohistochemistry by χ2 test analysis showed that the high expression of VEGFR2 in HCC was related to large tumour diameter (p=0.012), poor differentiation (p=0.007), high serum α-fetoprotein (p=0.029), multifocal gross classification (p=0.007), and less than 5 years' survival (p=0.029). Kaplan–Meier survival and Cox regression analyses showed that high VEGFR2 expression (p=0.009) and stage grouping with TNM classification (p=0.004) were independent prognotic factors.

Conclusions The efficacy of A8H1 in immunohistochemistry using HCC tissues was confirmed. There was a correlation of high VEGFR2 expression with prognostic significance in HCC. Additionally, the self-made anti-VEGFR2 monoclonal antibody could be used for future anti-HCC-targeted therapy research.

  • VEGFR2
  • HCC
  • monoclonal antibody
  • immunohistochemistry
  • prognostic significance
  • therapeutic target
  • antibodies
  • cancer research
  • immunohistochemistry
  • liver
  • tumour markers

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  • Funding This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation (BS2007019) of Jiangsu Province and a grant (H200938) from the Health Department of Jiangsu Province, China.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Human Research Ethics Committee of Nanjing Medical University.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.