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Int J Oncol. 2002 Apr;20(4):717-21.

An evaluation of the prognostic significance of vascular endothelial growth factor in node positive primary breast carcinoma.

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Department of Surgery, Adelaide and Meath Hospitals, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland.


Angiogenesis is intimately related to the growth and progression of tumours and must be induced to facilitate growth beyond a minimum size. It has been implicated in the development of metastases and survival in breast carcinoma. VEGF is a cytokine that plays an important role in angiogenesis. Its expression is increased in solid tumours during induction of angiogenesis and it has been implicated as a prognostic marker in patients with node negative breast carcinoma. We studied VEGF expression, in a series of patients with node positive breast carcinoma and examined histopathological parameters of the tumour and the prognostic value of VEGF expression. Specimens from 108 cases of node positive breast cancer were stained for VEGF using an antibody suitable for use on formalin fixed tissue. VEGF staining was cytoplasmic and was scored by intensity and the percent positive cells. Patients with positive VEGF staining (n=48) were compared with patients with negative VEGF staining (n=60). Demographic criteria were similar in both groups. Only one (12%) patient with lobular carcinoma and one (14%) patient with medullary carcinoma expressed VEGF compared with 46 (49%) patients with ductal carcinoma (NOS). DCIS was present in 60 tumours. There was a strong correlation between staining in DCIS and the adjacent invasive tumours. There was no significant association between VEGF staining and T stage, tumour size or the number of positive lymph nodes. VEGF expression had no prognostic significance either for disease-free or overall survival in patients with node positive disease. This study failed to support a role for VEGF as a prognostic marker in patients with node positive breast carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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