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Clin Cancer Res. 1999 Mar;5(3):587-91.

The prognostic significance of angiogenesis in epithelial ovarian carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


The molecular biology underlying the metastatic process in ovarian carcinoma remains poorly understood. For other neoplasms, the induction of angiogenesis by malignant cells has been shown to play a pivotal role in the process of tumor proliferation and metastasis. The purpose of this study was to characterize the degree of angiogenesis in epithelial ovarian malignancies and to determine whether the degree of neovascularization has prognostic significance for survival. Tissue sections obtained from 88 ovarian cancer patients were examined immunohistochemically for angiogenesis after staining with anti-human endothelial cell antibodies to von Willebrand factor and CD31. Light microscopy was performed, and individual microvessel counts were quantified at high power (x400). A chart review was completed, collating data regarding age, stage, grade, status of disease, and survival. Statistical exploratory methods were used to find potentially useful prognostic cutpoints for marker values of angiogenesis. Of the total 88 patients, tissue microvessel counts from 85 were evaluated via antibodies to von Willebrand factor and 87 for CD31. Overall, median survival was 2.7 years in women with cancers containing high microvessel counts versus 7.9 years in those with low microvessel counts (P = 0.03). A low microvessel count was associated with better 5-year survival in both early stage (I and II) and advanced stage (III and IV) disease. Our data suggest that the degree of neovascularization may have prognostic significance in epithelial ovarian carcinoma, especially for women with early-stage disease. In this group of women, the degree of angiogenesis may allow the selection of women at high risk for recurrence who may benefit from aggressive adjuvant therapy.

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