Vascular endothelial growth factor, platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor and angiogenesis in non-small-cell lung cancer
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High microvessel density, an indirect measure of angiogenesis, has been shown to correlate with increased tumour size, lymph node involvement and poor prognosis in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Tumour cell vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor (PD-ECGF) expression correlate with angiogenesis and a poor outcome in this disease. In a retrospective study VEGF and PD-ECGF expression and microvessel density were evaluated immunohistochemically in surgically resected specimens (T1-3, N0-2) from 223 patients with operable NSCLC using the VG1, P-GF.44C and JC70 monoclonal antibodies respectively. High VEGF immunoreactivity was seen in 104 (46.6%) and PD-ECGF in 72 (32.3%) cases and both were associated with high vascular grade tumours (P= 0.009 and P= 0.05 respectively). Linear regression analysis revealed a weak positive correlation between VEGF and PD-ECGF expression in cancer cells (r= 0.21; P = 0.002). Co-expression of VEGF and PD-ECGF was not associated with a higher microvessel density than VEGF or PD-ECGF only expressing tumours. Furthermore a proportion of high vascular grade tumours expressed neither growth factor. Univariate analysis revealed tumour size, nodal status, microvessel density and VEGF and PD-ECGF expression as significant prognostic factors. Tumour size (P < 0.02) and microvessel density (P < 0.04) remained significant on multivariate analysis. In conclusion, VEGF and PD-ECGF are important angiogenic growth factors and have prognostic significance in NSCLC. Furthermore the study underlines the prognostic significance of microvessel density in operable NSCLC.
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