Published online Mar 15, 2004. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v10.i6.783
Revised: October 23, 2003
Accepted: December 8, 2003
Published online: March 15, 2004
AIM: To study the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) and chemokine receptor CCR7 in gastric carcinoma and to investigate their associations with lymph node metastasis of gastric carcinoma and their values in predicting lymph node metastasis.
METHODS: The expression of VEGF-C and CCR7 in gastric carcinoma tissues obtained from 118 patients who underwent curative gastrectomy was examined by immunohistochemistry. Among these patients, 39 patients underwent multi-slice spiral CT (MSCT) examination.
RESULTS: VEGF-C and CCR7 were positively expressed in 52.5 and 53.4% of patients. VEGF-C expression was more frequently found in tumors with lymph node metastasis than those without it (P < 0.001). VEGF-C expression was also closely related to lymphatic invasion (P < 0.001), vascular invasion (P < 0.01), and TNM stage (P < 0.001). However, there was no significant correlation between VEGF-C expression and age at surgery, gender, tumor size, tumor location, Lauren classification, and depth of invasion. CCR7 expression was significantly higher in patients with lymph node metastasis compared with those without lymph node metastasis (P < 0.001) and was also associated with tumor size (P < 0.01), depth of invasion (P < 0.001), lymphatic invasion (P < 0.001), and TNM stage (P < 0.001). However, the presence of CCR7 had no correlation to age at surgery, gender, tumor location, Lauren classification, and vascular invasion. Among the 39 patients who underwent MSCT examination, only CCR7 expression was related to lymph node metastasis determined by MSCT (P < 0.05). In the current retrospective study, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy of VEGF-C and CCR7 expression in the diagnosis of lymph node metastasis for patients with gastric carcinoma were 73.8%, 70.2%, 72.6%, 71.4% and 72.0%, and 82.0%, 77.2%, 79.4%, 80.0% and 79.7%, respectively. After subdivision according to the combination of VEGF-C and CCR7 expression, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis showed that the accuracy of the combined examination of VEGF-C and CCR7 expression in predicting lymph node metastasis was relatively high (area under ROC curve [Az] = 0.83).
CONCLUSION: The expression of VEGF-C and CCR7 is related to lymph node metastasis of gastric carcinoma and both of them may become new targets for the treatment of gastric carcinoma. Furthermore, the combined examination of VEGF-C and CCR7 expression in endoscopic biopsy specimens may be useful in predicting lymph node metastasis of gastric carcinoma and deciding the extent of surgical lymph node resection.