Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Test

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Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Test
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Overview

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), originally known as vascular permeability factor (VPF), is a signal protein produced by cells that stimulates the formation of blood vessels. Solid cancers cannot grow beyond a limited size without an adequate blood supply; cancers that can express VEGF are able to grow and metastasize. Overexpression of VEGF can cause vascular disease in the retina of the eye and other parts of the body.

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), originally known as vascular permeability factor (VPF), is a signal protein produced by cells that stimulates the formation of blood vessels. To be specific, VEGF is a sub-family of growth factors, the platelet-derived growth factor family of cystine-knot growth factors. They are important signaling proteins involved in both vasculogenesis (the de novo formation of the embryonic circulatory system) and angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature).

VEGF is part of the system that restores the oxygen supply to tissues when blood circulation is inadequate such as in hypoxic conditions. Serum concentration of VEGF is high in bronchial asthma and diabetes mellitus. VEGF's normal function is to create new blood vessels during embryonic development, new blood vessels after injury, muscle following exercise, and new vessels (collateral circulation) to bypass blocked vessels.

When VEGF is overexpressed, it can contribute to disease. Solid cancers cannot grow beyond a limited size without an adequate blood supply; cancers that can express VEGF are able to grow and metastasize. Overexpression of VEGF can cause vascular disease in the retina of the eye and other parts of the body. Drugs such as aflibercept, bevacizumab, ranibizumab, and pegaptanib can inhibit VEGF and control or slow those diseases.