VEGF and VEGFRs expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Vol. 50 No. 4, 2009


Cl. Margaritescu, D. Pirici, Cristiana Simionescu, L. Mogoanta, M. Raica, A. Stinga, Raluca Ciurea, A. Stepan, Alina Stinga, D. Ribatti

Oral cancer is an important cause of worldwide morbidity and mortality, with substantial economic, physiological, and psychosocial impacts due to its treatment modality and a great risk for recurrences and second primary oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) development. Therefore, it is very important to understand the underlying cell biology of such tumors. It is now a well-accepted fact that angiogenesis is essential for the growth and metastasis of solid tumors, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The main factor responsible for angiogenesis is VEGF and its receptors. It has been demonstrated that VEGFRs are also present on tumor cells themselves and other cells from the tumor microenvironment, in addition to tumoral endothelial cells (ECs). Therefore between these cells take place numerous and different interactions mediated via paracrine/autocrine pathways that promote angiogenesis, uncontrolled tumor proliferation and metastasation. In consequence, estimation of VEGF expression and its receptors became a reliable prognostic tool in OSCCS, predicting the poor disease-free survival, poor overall survival, and metastatic disease. Understanding the distribution and role of VEGF and its receptors in the progression of OSCC will be essential to the development and design of new therapeutic strategies.

Corresponding author: Claudiu Margaritescu, MD, PhD, e-mail:

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