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Oncol Rep. 2007 Jan;17(1):147-52.

Expression of angiogenic factors in childhood B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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  • 1Klinik mit Poliklinik für Kinder und Jugendliche, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany.


Pathological angiogenesis is increasingly recognized to be an important feature of pathogenesis in solid tumors and also in leukemias. Specific blockers of angiogenesis are now being introduced into early clinical trials with encouraging results. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) seems to play a central role in tumor angiogenesis and is associated with a poor prognosis in both solid tumors and adult leukemias. In pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia however, the expression of angiogenic molecules and its relation to prognosis and relapse are unknown. Therefore, we prospectively analyzed 46 pediatric patients with precursor B cell acute lymphocytic leukemia by semi-quantitative RT-PCR for expression of the angiogenic molecules VEGF, VEGF-C, iNOS and TGF-beta and correlated relapse and survival data with the expression of these factors. We found a high mRNA expression of TGF-beta and iNOS, a moderate expression of VEGF but no expression of bFGF and VEGF-C. A significantly higher expression of VEGF mRNA was found in patients with late relapses compared to patients without relapses (p=0.043). A significantly higher mRNA expression of iNOS was found in surviving patients compared with non-surviving patients (p=0.023). Angiogenic factors are expressed in the bone marrow of patients with pediatric B cell precursor ALL and VEGF is a potential candidate for therapeutic intervention as it is significantly higher expressed in children with late relapses. The mRNA expression of iNOS in the surviving children possibly reflects an increased activity of the immune system against the leukemia which leads to a superior survival.

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