Journal Article Primary tumor-secreted lymphangiogenic factors induce pre-metastatic lymphvascular niche formation at sentinel lymph nodes in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Wakisaka, Naohiro  ,  Hasegawa, Yasuhisa  ,  Yoshimoto, Seiichi  ,  Miura, Kouki  ,  Shiotani, Akihiro  ,  Yokoyama, Junkichi  ,  Sugasawa, Masashi  ,  Moriyama-Kita, Makiko  ,  Endo, Kazuhira  ,  Yoshizaki, Tomokazu

10 ( 12 )  , p.e0144056 , 2015-12-01 , Public Library of Science
Objectives: The objectives of this study were to evaluate the formation of lymphvascular niches in lymph nodes of patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), and investigate the roles of lymphangiogenic and angiogenic factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, VEGF-C, and VEGF-D, expressed in the primary tumors. Materials and Methods: Forty-four patients with previously untreated clinically late T2 or T3 OSCC of cN0 were evaluated for primary tumors and 166 sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs). Primary tumors were immunohistochemically analyzed for expressions of VEGFs. Densities of lymphatic vessels (LVDpodoplanin) and high endothelial venules (HEVD) in the SLNs were also calculated using antibodies for each marker, podoplanin and MECA-79, respectively. Results: In 25 patients, all lymph nodes were metastasis-negative, whereas, in 19 patients, metastasis was positive for at least one lymph node (either at SLN, non-SLN, or nodal recurrence). From the analyses of 140 SLNs without metastasis, LVDpodoplanin in 50 SLNs of metastasis-positive cases was significantly higher than that in 90 SLNs of metastasis-negative cases (p = 0.0025). HEVD was not associated with lymph node metastasis. The patients with VEGF-A-High or VEGF-D-High tumors had significantly higher LVDpodoplanin than patients with their Low counterparts (p = 0.0233 and p = 0.0209, respectively). In cases with lymph node metastasis, the VEGF-D-expression score was significantly higher than in those without lymph node metastasis (p = 0.0006). Conclusions: These results suggest that lymph node lymphangiogenesis occurs before metastasis in OSCC. VEGF-A and VEGF-D play critical roles in this process. VEGF-D is a potential predictive marker of positive lymph node metastasis in cN0 patients. © 2015 Wakisaka et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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