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Breast J. 2003 May-Jun;9(3):200-7.

Microvessel density and vascular endothelial growth factor expression in infiltrating lobular mammary carcinoma.

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Department of Pathology and Biostatistics Unit, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35249, USA.


Angiogenesis is an important prognostic factor in infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) stimulates angiogenesis in vivo. VEGF expression has been correlated with high vascularity in IDC. However, little is known about the prognostic significance of microvessel density (MVD) and its correlation with the expression of VEGF in infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC). We analyzed tumor samples from 51 patients with primary classic ILC to determine the relationship between tumoral MVD and VEGF expression. Cases of pleomorphic lobular carcinoma and tubulolobular carcinoma were excluded. Five-micron thick sections obtained from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue blocks were immunostained with antibodies to factor VIII-related antigen (Dako, Carpenteria, CA) and VEGF (Calbiochem, Boston, MA). The former was used for MVD analysis. The vessel counts from the three most vascular fields (x200 magnification) were recorded and the highest of the vessel counts of the three fields was designated as the MVD. The intensity of VEGF staining and the proportion of cells staining were scored. Both the vessel counts and the scoring of VEGF staining were evaluated by two independent pathologists. The Student's t-test and Wilcoxon rank sum test were used to compare mean MVD and VEGF scores according to various clinical and pathologic features. All significance tests were two-sided with an alpha-level of 0.05. There was good correlation between the MVD of each observer (correlation coefficient 0.775, p < 0.001). There was no correlation of MVD or VEGF score with the size or stage of the tumor. In addition, the MVD or VEGF score was not significantly different between axillary lymph node-positive cases and node-negative cases, between patients with recurrence and those without, and between patients who survived and those who died of disease. There was, however, a weak negative correlation between the MVD and VEGF expression (Spearman correlation coefficient -0.08). Neither MVD or VEGF immunoscore were associated with tumor recurrence or vital status in patients with ILC. The absence of a statistically significant positive correlation between MVD and VEGF expression suggests that other factors may play a more important role in the angiogenesis of ILC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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