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Mod Pathol. 1999 Aug;12(8):770-4.

Vascular endothelial growth factor expression in malignant melanoma: prognostic versus diagnostic usefulness.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock 72205, USA.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an endothelial cell mitogen, plays a role in angiogenesis and progression in malignant melanoma. VEGF expression was examined in 62 biopsy specimens of melanocytic proliferations, including 45 malignant melanomas, 3 cellular blue nevi, 12 atypical compound nevi, and 2 Spitz nevi. The cases of malignant melanoma included 11 in situ melanomas, 18 Clark Level II, 9 Clark Level III, and 7 Clark Level IV tissue samples. All of the specimens were fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. Cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for VEGF was demonstrated in 19 (42%) of 45 melanoma samples, but there was no immunoreactivity for VEGF exhibited by any of the atypical compound melanocytic nevi, cellular blue nevi, or Spitz nevi (P < .009). Immunoreactivity for VEGF was found to be related to tumor thickness (as evidenced by Clark level [P < .03]) and to absence of regression (P < .04). Although VEGF is not a useful prognostic indicator for malignant melanoma, it may be useful as a discriminating factor between malignant melanoma and benign melanocytic lesions, and it may offer some insight into tumor growth.

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