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Br J Haematol. 2001 May;113(2):296-304.

Increased bone marrow vascularization in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia: a possible role for vascular endothelial growth factor.

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Division of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology, Department of Paediatrics, Beatrix Children's Hospital, Groningen, The Netherlands.


The present study demonstrated that the vessel number in bone marrow biopsies from acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients (n = 23) was significantly increased at diagnosis compared with normal bone marrow (P = 0.019) and was restored to normal levels after achieving complete remission (P = 0.03). The in vitro angiogenic potential of culture supernatant of AML cells was assessed using endothelial cell (EC) migration and proliferation assays. Increased EC migration and EC proliferation was induced in 7/20 and 19/20 AML supernatents respectively. The degree of in vivo neovascularization did not correlate with the ability of AML cells to stimulate in vitro endothelial cell migration and/or proliferation. This might be in part a result of the heterogeneous pattern of angiogenic factors produced by AML cells. The expression of different angiogenic factors was studied using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Cells from 17/20 AML patients showed wide variation in spontaneous vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression, 4/19 expressed varied spontaneous blastic fibroblast growth factor mRNA levels and all patient samples showed spontaneous interleukin 8 mRNA expression. All AML samples expressed matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and/or MMP-9. VEGF mRNA expression correlated well with protein level (P = 0.006). A correlation was found between the degree of VEGF expression and neoangiogenesis (correlation coefficient = 0.448, P = 0.05). These results suggest that malignant cell proliferation, angiogenesis and VEGF expression are linked in AML and might contribute to the growth advantage of the malignant counterpart as a result of the paracrine production of growth factors produced by the surrounding endothelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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