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Cancer. 1999 May 15;85(10):2219-25.

Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor related to 72-kilodalton metalloproteinase immunostaining in patients with serous ovarian tumors.

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Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology, G. Salesi Hospital, University of Ancona, Italy.



The aim of the current study was to investigate the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by neoplastic cells in patients with serous ovarian tumors. The correlation between neoangiogenesis and 72-kilodalton metalloproteinase (MMP2) immunostaining also was evaluated.


Fifty-eight patients with serous ovarian tumors who were treated at the Institute of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Ancona University (Ancona, Italy) were used as the study population; 10 women had serous cystoadenoma, 16 women had a serous borderline tumor, and 32 women had invasive cystoadenocarcinoma. Expression of VEGF and MMP2 was evaluated immunohistochemically by polyclonal antibody anti-VEGF (dilution, 1:100) and affinity purified, rabbit anti-MMP2, formalin fixed, paraffin embedded tissue. Positive staining was expressed as a percentage of positive cells per 10(3) counted neoplastic cells.


Compared with cystoadenomas and borderline tumors, the tessutal VEGF immunostaining was significantly higher in cystoadenocarcinomas, with the highest values detected in architectural International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Grade 3 neoplasms (P2 < 0.001). A direct relation was observed between VEGF and MMP2 immunostaining (correlation coefficient, 0.44; P2 = 0.013). A relation was found between VEGF expression and disease free survival as evaluated by Cox hazards analysis (P2 = 0.03).


Neoangiogenesis detected by VEGF immunostaining appears to be a promising indicator of aggressiveness in serous ovarian tumors. In cystoadenocarcinomas, VEGF expression appears to be related to MMP2 index.

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