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Cancer. 2002 Nov 1;95(9):1923-30.

Plasma vascular endothelial growth factor levels have prognostic significance in patients with acute myeloid leukemia but not in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

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Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.



Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) are positive regulators of angiogenesis. Increased levels in urine, serum, plasma, or malignant tissue have been associated with an adverse prognosis in patients with solid tumors.


The authors used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to measure VEGF and bFGF levels in plasma samples from 99 patients with previously untreated myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) (n = 41 patients; 42%) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (n = 58 patients; 58%) and compared the results with the results from a group of normal control participants.


Increased expression levels of VEGF and bFGF were found in the plasma from patients with AML and MDS (P < 0.01) compared with the levels found in the control group. Plasma levels of VEGF in patients with AML or MDS were similar (median, 30.63 pg/mL and 34.41 pg/mL, respectively). There was no significant difference in bFGF levels between patients with AML and patients with MDS (median, 6.38 pg/mL and 6.98 pg/mL, respectively). Elevated levels of VEGF were associated with reduced survival (P = 0.02) in patients with AML as well as lower complete remission (CR) rates (P = 0.004). Elevated VEGF levels were not associated with reduced remission duration (CRD) in patients with AML. There was no correlation between VEGF levels and survival, CRD, or CR rates in patients with MDS. There was no correlation between bFGF levels and CR rates or survival in patients with either AML or MDS.


Plasma VEGF levels have prognostic significance in patients with AML. The lack of clinical relevance of VEGF levels in patients with MDS suggests some biologic difference between AML and MDS.

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