Lymphovascular invasion or LVI is the movement of cancer cells into either a blood or lymphatic vessel. Once cancer cells are within a blood or lymphatic vessel, they have the ability to spread to other parts of the body. The movement of cancer cells to another part of the body is called metastasis.
Because lymphovascular invasion is an important prognostic marker, most pathology reports for cancer will say whether lymphovascular invasion was seen in the tissue sample. Positive for lymphovascular invasion means that it was seen in the tissue examined. Negative for lymphovascular invasion means that it was not seen.
Blood vessels carry blood to and from organs. Lymphatic vessels bring excess fluid, waste, and other substances away from organs so they can be examined by the immune system before being removed from the body. Lymphatic vessels connect with small immune organs called lymph nodes.