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Leuk Lymphoma. 2006 Mar;47(3):451-60.

Immunohistochemical detection of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the bone marrow in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: correlation between VEGF expression and the FAB category.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


Recent data suggest that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is produced in neoplastic cells in various myeloid neoplasms and plays a key role as an autocrine regulator and mediator of angiogenesis. We examined the expression of VEGF in paraffin-embedded bone marrow sections obtained from normal donors (n = 5) and 46 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes [MDS, French-American-British (FAB)-type refractory anemia (RA), n = 10; refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts (RARS), n = 10; refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB), n = 10; RAEB in transformation (RAEB-T), n = 8; chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), n = 8] by immunohistochemistry using an anti-VEGF antibody. In normal bone marrow, the anti-VEGF antibody was found to react with myeloid progenitor cells, immature monocytic cells, plasma cells and megakaryocytes, but not with erythroid cells or mature granulocytic cells. Higher levels of VEGF were found in patients with MDS, subtypes RAEB, RAEB-T and CMML, compared to patients with RA or RARS, or the normal bone marrow. These differences were found to result from expression of VEGF in immature myeloid cells in RAEB, RAEB-T and CMML. The microvessel density was also higher in patients with RAEB-T and CMML compared to RA and RARS or the normal bone marrow. Expression of VEGF mRNA was demonstrable in isolated neoplastic cells by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in all patients examined. In aggregate, these data show that VEGF is expressed in bone marrow cells in patients with MDS. The amount of expressed VEGF is related to the percentage of immature myeloid cells (blasts and monocytic progenitors) and correlates with the FAB category.

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