Blood vessels and lymphatic vessels are located in many tissues and organs throughout the body, and play important roles in a wide variety of prevalent diseases in humans. Vascular endothelial growth factor-D (VEGF-D) is a secreted protein that can promote the remodeling of blood vessels and lymphatics in development and disease. Recent fundamental and translational studies have provided insight into the molecular mechanisms by which VEGF-D exerts its effects in human disease. Hence this protein is now of interest as a therapeutic and/or diagnostic target, or as a potential therapeutic agent, in a diversity of indications in cardiovascular medicine, cancer and the devastating pulmonary condition lymphangioleiomyomatosis. This has led to clinical trial programs to assess the effect of targeting VEGF-D signaling pathways, or delivering VEGF-D, in angina, cancer and ocular indications. This review summarizes our understanding of VEGF-D signaling in human disease, which is largely based on animal disease models and clinicopathological studies, and provides information about the outcomes of recent clinical trials testing agonists or antagonists of VEGF-D signaling.
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