Lymphangiogenic growth factors as markers of tumor metastasis

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Understanding the complex process of tumor metastasis is a problem which has challenged both clinician and scientist for well over 100 years. Defining molecular markers which reflect the metastatic potential of a tumor has also proved elusive. Recently, members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family of glycoproteins have been demonstrated to be potent mediators of both blood vessel and lymphatic vessel formation in the context of tumor biology. Experimental studies in animal models combined with extensive clinicopathological data provide a compelling case indicating that members of the VEGF family play a key role in the formation of metastases in a broad range of solid tumors. The question of whether VEGF signaling pathways can now serve as therapeutic targets alone, or in combination with other forms of anti-cancer agents, needs to be addressed.

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