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Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Apr;9(4):1399-405.

Levels of soluble vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 1 in astrocytic tumors and its relation to malignancy, vascularity, and VEGF-A.

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  • 1Department of Neuropathology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany. lamszus@uke.uni-hamburg.de



Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A isa key mediator of angiogenesis in malignant gliomas. Soluble VEGF receptor 1 (sVEGFR-1) can complex VEGF-A and reduce its bioavailability. In several animal models sVEGFR-1 inhibited angiogenesis and tumor growth. We analyzed the levels of endogenous sVEGFR-1 in gliomas of different malignancy grades in relation to tumor vascularity and VEGF-A.


The concentration of sVEGFR-1 was determined by ELISA in 104 gliomas and normal brain. Levels of sVEGFR-1 were compared with malignancy grade, microvessel density, and VEGF-A concentration. Effects of sVEGFR-1 on glioma extract-induced endothelial cell chemotaxis were analyzed in vitro.


The concentration of sVEGFR-1 correlated with the malignancy grade and was 12-fold higher in glioblastomas than in diffuse astrocytomas (P < 0.001), with intermediate levels for anaplastic astrocytomas. VEGF-A levels were 30-fold higher (P < 0.001) in glioblastomas than in diffuse astrocytomas. The sVEGFR-1:VEGF-A ratio was 0.27 in glioblastomas and 0.70 in diffuse astrocytomas. Both sVEGFR-1 and VEGF-A correlated with microvessel density (P < 0.001) and with each other (P < 0.001); sVEGFR-1 and VEGF-A also correlated with each other when only glioblastomas were analyzed (P = 0.001). In vitro, recombinant sVEGFR-1 inhibited endothelial cell chemotaxis induced by tumor extracts.


Although absolute levels of sVEGFR-1 are increased in the more malignant gliomas, the sVEGFR-1:VEGF-A ratio is decreased 2.6-fold in glioblastomas compared with diffuse astrocytomas, suggesting that the ensuing increased bioavailability of VEGF-A favors angiogenesis. The inhibition of tumor extract-induced endothelial chemotaxis by sVEGFR-1 suggests that sVEGFR-1 could be useful as an angiogenesis inhibitor in the specific context of human gliomas.

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