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Chin J Cancer Res. 2012 Mar;24(1):36-43. doi: 10.1007/s11670-012-0036-8.

Impact of serum vascular endothelial growth factor on prognosis in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma after transarterial chemoembolization.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education), Department of Interventional Therapy, Peking University School of Oncology, Beijing Cancer Hospital & Institute, Beijing 100142, China.



To investigate the expression level of serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its relationship with the clinicopathological characteristics, and to assess the impact of serum VEGF as a predictive factor for HCC prognosis during transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) treatments.


Serum VEGF levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 60 random patients who underwent TACE or transarterial infusion (TAI) for unresectable HCC between May and September 2008 and 12 healthy volunteers were also involved in this study to serve as control. All patients' clinicopathological features were retrospectively analyzed. Serum VEGF levels were correlated with clinicopathological features of the HCC patients. The patients' survival rates were analyzed with Kaplan-Meier survival curves and compared by the log-rank test. The prognostic significance of serum VEGF levels and factors related to survival rate were evaluated by univariate and multivariate analysis.


The median serum VEGF level in the HCC patients was 285 pg/ml (range 14-1,207 pg/ml), significantly higher than that of healthy controls (P=0.021). The serum VEGF levels were significantly correlated with platelet counts (r=0.396, P=0.002) but not other clinicopathological features. Patients with serum VEGF level >285 pg/ml had worse overall survival compared with those with serum VEGF level <285 pg/ml (P=0.002). By multivariate analysis, the serum VEGF level was a significant prognostic factor.


High serum VEGF levels may predict poor prognosis of HCC after TACE. This study highlights the importance of tumor biomarker as a prognostic predictor in TACE therapy for HCC, which has an intrinsic problem of unavailability of histopathological prognostic features.


ELISA; Hepatocellular carcinoma; TACE; Vascular endothelial growth factor

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