Cervical cancer is known to metastasize primarily by the lymphatic system. Dissemination through lymphatic vessels represents an early step in regional tumor progression, and the presence of lymphatic metastasis is associated with a poor prognosis. In patients who have undergone a radical hysterectomy, lymphovascular space invasion (LVSI), assessed on hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides, is a major factor for adjuvant therapy in patients with cervical cancer. With the advent of a lymphatic endothelial cell-specific marker, such as D2-40, it is now possible to distinguish between blood and lymphatic space invasion (LSI). In this study, the utility of D2-40 was assessed for the detection of lymphatic vessel density (LVD) and identification of LSI. The expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 (VEGFR-3), VEGF-C, tyrosine receptor kinase-2, and angiopoietin-1 were assessed by immunohistochemical methods on 50 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix. Clinicopath-ologic characteristics, including pelvic lymph node metastasis, were correlated with the above histochemical findings. We found that lymphangiogenesis, measured by an increase in peritumoral LVD, was significantly associated with positive lymph node status (P <.005). VEGFR-3 expression was significantly associated with LVD [P <.05). D2-40 staining verified LSI (P =.03) and surpassed that of hematoxylin and eosin-identified LVSI (P =.54). In conclusion, lymphangiogenic markers, specifically LVD quantified by D2-40 and VEGFR-3, are independently associated with LSI and lymph node metastasis in patients with early squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix treated with radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research