Lymph nodes (LN) involved with small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) reportedly contain increased numbers of microvessels that may constitute a therapeutic target in this disease. We investigated the secretion of the angiogenic growth factor, basic fibroblastic growth factor (bFGF), from primary tissue cultures of 15 LN with SLL and 10 reactive LN. bFGF was detected from the resulting conditioned media (CM) in 13/15 SLL samples (mean 92 ± 30, range 5-420 pg/ml) but was undetectable in CM from all reactive lymph nodes. CM was also used in a 72-h human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) proliferation assay. HUVEC proliferation increased in the presence of SLL CM (70 ± 17%, range -4-194%), proportional to secreted levels of bFGF (R2 = 0.95), and was reversed by depleting bFGF from CM. Previous SLL studies have examined either patient serum samples or paraffin-embedded lymph node tissue sections. This is the first study to examine the secretion of an angiogenic growth factor from primary cultures of lymph node cells. Our results indicate that bFGF is probably the primary mediator responsible for increased angiogenesis in involved nodes. These findings may be pertinent to future investigation into the mechanisms of increased angiogenesis in SLL.
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