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BMC Cancer. 2006 May 29;6:140.

Thrombospondin-1 expression in urothelial carcinoma: prognostic significance and association with p53 alterations, tumour angiogenesis and extracellular matrix components.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University Hospital of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.



Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) is an extracellular matrix component glycoprotein, which is known to be a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis and may be important in cancer invasiveness. We examined the TSP-1 expression in correlation with conventional clinicopathological parameters to clarify its prognostic significance in bladder cancer. In addition, the possible correlation of TSP-1 expression with microvessel count, VEGF expression, p53 expression as well as with the expression of the extracellular matrix components was studied to explore its implication in vascularization and tumour stroma remodeling.


The immunohistochemical expression of TSP-1 in tumour cells and in the tumour stroma was studied in 148 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded urothelial cell carcinoma tissue samples.


TSP-1 was detected in perivascular tissue, at the epithelial-stromal junction, in the stroma and in tumour cells in the majority of the cases. In tumour cells, low TSP-1 expression was observed in 43% of the cases, moderate and high in 7%, while 50% showed absence of TSP expression. A higher TSP-1 immunoreactivity in well and moderately differentiated tumours compared to poorly differentiated was noted. PT1 tumours showed decreased TSP-1 expression in comparison to pTa and pT2-4 tumours. Increased tumour cell TSP-1 expression was related to increased microvessel density. In the tumour stroma, 37% of the cases showed small amount of TSP-1 expression, 7.5% moderate and high, while 55% of the cases showed absence of TSP-1 stromal immunoreactivity. Stromal TSP-1 expression was inversely correlated with tumour stage and tumour size. This expression was also positively correlated with microvessel density, VEGF expression and extracellular matrix components tenascin and fibronectin. Using univariate and multivariate analysis we didn't find any significant correlation of TSP-1 expression in superficial tumours in both tumour cells and tumour stroma in terns of the risk of recurrence and disease progression


Our data suggest that both tumour and stromal TSP-1 expression may play a role in tumour aggressiveness and angiogenesis. In addition, the correlation of stromal TSP-1 expression with extracellular matrix components fibronectin and tenascin indicate its possible implication in tumour stroma remodeling.

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