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Correlation between serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-C and sentinel lymph node status in early breast cancer

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Tumor Biology


Axillary lymph nodes status is the most important prognosis factor in early breast cancer. This status is known by a selective sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) and/or lymphadenectomy. Immunohistochemical studies of breast cancer tumour tissue have reported a relation between the increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) and the risk of lymph node metastasis. We researched whether serum levels of VEGF-C could be a predictor factor of sentinel lymph node status in these patients. A prospective analysis was performed on serum from 174 patients with early breast cancer who underwent SLNB. The level of VEGF-C was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Clinical-pathologic variables were collected. Univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression were conducted, taking SLNB positivity as the segmentation variable. The predictive value of VEGF-C was assessed using ROC curves. Of the sample group of 167 patients, 64 (38.3 %) had affected lymph node. Eighteen patients (28.1 %) presented micrometastasis; there were isolated tumour cells in 11 cases (17.2 %) and macrometastasis in 35 (54.6 %). The median value of VEGF-C was 6561.5 pg/ml. These values did not correlate with any clinical variables, and there was no association between the level of VEGF-C and SLNB status (p = 0.626). In the multivariate analysis, tumour size (p = 0.009) and the presence of vascular invasion (p < 0.001) were independently associated with sentinel lymph node affected. Serum levels of VEGF-C do not appear to predict sentinel lymph node status in patients with early breast cancer who undergo SLNB.

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We thank all the patients and family for their help to do this work.

Ethical standards

This study was approved by the hospital ethics committee and was conducted in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (Seoul, 2008). All patients gave their written informed consent to participate in the study. Project data were collected anonymously, following Spanish data protection legislation (Act 15/1999 of 15 December).

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Correspondence to Elisabeth Pérez-Ruiz.

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Drs Rueda, Zarcos and Pérez-Ruiz and Rivas-Ruiz and Redondo belong to REDISSEC.

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Pérez, D., Rohde, A., Callejón, G. et al. Correlation between serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-C and sentinel lymph node status in early breast cancer. Tumor Biol. 36, 9285–9293 (2015).

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