Substantial advances have accrued over the last decade in the identification of the processes that contribute to lymphatic vascular development in health and disease. Identification of distinct regulatory milestones, from a variety of genetic models, has led to a stepwise chronology of lymphatic development. Several molecular species have been identified as important tissue biomarkers of lymphatic development and function. At present, vascular endothelial growth-factor receptor (VEGFR)-3/VEGF-C/VEGF-D signaling has proven useful in the identification of clinical lymphatic metastatic potential and the assessment of cancer prognosis. Similar biomarkers, to be utilized as surrogates for the assessment of inherited and acquired diseases of the lymphatic circulation, are actively sought, and will represent a signal advance in biomedical investigation.
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