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The use of specific anti-growth factor antibodies to abrogate the oncological consequences of transfusion: an in-vitro study


Peri-operative blood transfusion is associated with reduced prognosis in a number of solid malignancies. We investigate its role in a head & neck squamous cell cancer cell line. Growth of these cell lines was analogous to endothelial growth. Direct exposure to transfusion products exaggerated this effect. It was logical therefore to assess the effects of anti-endothelial antibodies on this interaction.

Materials and methods

Control (HUVEC) and tumour cell lines were exposed to transfusion products. The pre-incubation of the transfusion product with anti-endothelial growth factors was assessed by a growth assay.


The antibody did not directly reduce growth in the tumour cell line, however there was a significant reduction (p < 0.001) in tumour cell line growth caused by transfusion products pre-incubation with anti-endothelial growth factor antibody. This was found in several other tumours.


We have shown some of the prognostically deleterious effects of peri-operative transfusion in head & neck cancer patients is caused by the transfusion products release of endothelial growth factors. This is found to be the case in several of the tumour groups (Colonic and Prostate) for which this phenomena has been previously reported. It can now be hypothesized that this is due to the specific expression of receptors to these growth factors in these tumour types which are not universally found. It would also explain why this phenomenon does not occur for all tumour types.

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Correspondence to Tahwinder Upile.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Upile, T., Jerjes, W., Mahil, J. et al. The use of specific anti-growth factor antibodies to abrogate the oncological consequences of transfusion: an in-vitro study. Head Neck Oncol 1, P16 (2009).

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  • Tumour Cell Line
  • Squamous Cell Cancer
  • Neck Cancer Patient
  • Line Growth
  • Solid Malignancy