Tumor Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 667–671 | Cite as

Length of lymphangiogenesis in the rectal tissues distal to rectal cancer

  • Li-Ren Li
  • Yu-Jing Fang
  • Zhi-Zhong Pan
  • Xiao-Jun Wu
  • De-Sen Wan
  • Jennifer E. Hardingham
  • Nicholas Rieger
Research Article


To investigate the length of lymphangiogenesis in the rectal tissue distal to a rectal cancer and its effect on the resection margins of the rectum, 63 specimens of normal rectal tissue distal to the tumor were collected from the surgical resections of ten rectal cancer patients. The specimens were taken at 0.5-cm intervals between the distal end of tumor and the distal surgical margin. The mean amount of collected tissue in each patient was 6.3. The expression of VEGFR-3 and Prox1 was measured in the specimens using real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. VEGFR-3 and Prox1 were expressed in all harvested tissues. There was a reduction of expression of VEGFR-3 (nine cases) and Prox1 (ten cases) from tissue adjacent to the rectal tumor to the distal resection margin of the rectum. A downward slope of the expression levels of VEGFR-3 and Prox1 in all cases was found at less than 3.0 cm distal to the tumor. The median VEGFR-3 expression level in the tissues within 1.5 cm adjacent to the rectal cancer was higher than in those tissues beyond 1.5 cm (P = 0.024). The median Prox1 expression level in the tissues within 1.0 cm distal to the rectal cancer was higher than in those tissues beyond 1.0 cm (P = 0.003). Lymphangiogenesis may facilitate the mural spread of cancer cells. The length of development of new lymphatics in the rectal wall distal to a rectal cancer may be less than 3.0 cm. Resection of a rectal cancer should routinely include 3.0 cm distal to the tumor to ensure adequate excision of tissue subject to lymphangiogenesis and potential mural spread of the tumor.


Rectal cancer Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 Prox1 gene 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li-Ren Li
    • 1
  • Yu-Jing Fang
    • 2
  • Zhi-Zhong Pan
    • 1
  • Xiao-Jun Wu
    • 1
  • De-Sen Wan
    • 1
  • Jennifer E. Hardingham
    • 3
  • Nicholas Rieger
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Colorectal Surgery, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Cancer CenterSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Experimental Research, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Cancer CenterSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Basil Hetzel InstituteDepartment of Oncology, The Queen Elizabeth HospitalAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryThe Queen Elizabeth HospitalAdelaideAustralia

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