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Atherosclerosis. 2008 Sep;200(1):221-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2007.12.027. Epub 2008 Feb 7.

Prospective association of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) with coronary heart disease mortality in southeastern New England.

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  • 1Center for Primary Care and Prevention, Memorial Hospital of RI, Pawtucket, RI 02860, USA. charles_eaton@mhri.org



Autopsy data suggest that plaque neovascularization may be associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) death. Since vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is upregulated in angiogenesis and therefore neovascularization, we hypothesized that individuals with elevated levels of VEGF-A at baseline would be a greater risk of dying of CHD compared to those with lower levels over time.


We measured VEGF-A levels in 46 CHD death cases and a 14% random sample of 2321 community participants who were free of self-reported CHD at baseline. Traditional CHD risk factors such as age, gender, family history of CHD, cigarette smoking, hypertension, total cholesterol/HDL ratio, diabetes mellitus, were also evaluated at baseline. Mortality follow-up was determined through linkage of baseline data with the National Death Index.


During a median of 13 years of follow-up, 46 subjects died of coronary heart disease. Mean VEGF-A levels were significantly higher in the CHD death cases than among the random population sample (400 pg/ml vs. 303 pg/ml, p=0.0004). In proportional hazards models adjusting for traditional risk factors, the hazard ratios (95%CI) for CHD death associated with increasing tertiles of VEGF-A were 1.0 (referent), 2.12 (0.74, 6.10), and 3.85 (1.37, 10.78), respectively (P(test for trend)=0.008).


In this population-based prospective, case-cohort study, baseline levels of VEGF-A showed a significant independent association with the risk of CHD death.

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