Lymphovascular invasion (LVI)

by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
April 28, 2022

lymphovascular invasion

What does lymphovascular invasion mean?

Lymphovascular invasion (LVI) is the movement of cancer cells into either a blood or lymphatic vessel. 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.

Why is lymphovascular invasion important?

Lymphovascular invasion (LVI) allows cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymphatic system. The movement of cancer cells to another part of the body is called metastasis. Because LVI is an important prognostic marker, most pathology reports for cancer will say whether LVI was seen in the tissue sample. Positive for LVI means that it was seen in the tissue examined. Negative for LVI means that it was not seen.

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