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Overexpression of both platelet-derived growth factor-BB and vascular endothelial growth factor-C and its association with lymphangiogenesis in primary human non-small cell lung cancer

Jiannan Liu12, Chuanyong Liu1, Liyun Qiu3, Juan Li1, Pei Zhang1 and Yuping Sun1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oncology, Jinan Central Hospital, Affiliated to Shandong University, No. 105.Jiefang Road, Jinan, Shandong 250013, P.R. China

2 Department of Oncology, Yuhuangding Hospital, Yantai, Shandong 264000, P.R. China

3 Department of Pharmacology, Jinan Central Hospital, Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong 250013, P.R. China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2014, 9:128  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-9-128

Published: 27 June 2014



Metastatic spread of tumor through lymphatic vasculature is an important adverse prognostic factor in a variety of human cancer and tumor lymphangiogenesis requires the interplay of several growth factors. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C are two important molecules involving in tumor metastasis and lymphangiogenesis. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the coexpression of PDGF-BB and VEGF-C in primary human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and its association with lymphangiogenesis.


Using immunohistochemical staining, PDGF-BB and VEGF-C expression were detected in 109 primary NSCLC tissues, while the lymphatic micro-vessel density (LMVD) was counted.


Of 109 cases, PDGF-BB and VEGF-C overexpression was 66.97% (73/109) and 65.14% (71/109), respectively. 52 (47.7%) had overexpression of both PDGF-BB and VEGF-C (P + V+), 21 (19.3%) overexpression of PDGF-BB but low expression of VEGF-C (P + V-), 19(17.4%) overexpression of VEGF-C but low expression of PDGF-BB (P-V+) and 17(15.6%) low expression of both PDGF-BB and VEGF-C (P-V-). PDGF-BB expression was positively related to that of VEGF-C (r = 0.451, p = 0.034). LMVD in cases with P + V + was much higher than those with P-V- (p = 0.004). In addition, the patients with P + V + were younger and also had larger tumor size, more likely lymph node metastasis and worse histological differentiation than those with P-V-. Moreover, the overall survival (OS) of patients with P + V + was shorter than those with P-V- (p = 0.015).


Coexpression of both PDGF-BB and VEGF-C was associated with lymphangiogenesis and poor prognosis in NSCLC, and might play a critical role in NSCLC progression.

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: webcite

Platelet-derived growth factor-BB; Vascular endothelial growth factor-C; Lymphatic micro-vessel density; Non-small cell lung cancer