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Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(25):3784-92.

Multiple VEGF family members are simultaneously expressed in ovarian cancer: a proposed model for bevacizumab resistance.

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Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands.



Insight into the expression of multiple vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family members can support the implementation of anti-angiogenic therapy. This study aimed to assess VEGF family member expression in ovarian cancers and related omental metastases.


Tissue microarrays encompassing 270 primary cancers and 112 paired metastases were immunostained for VEGF-A, VEGF-B, VEGF-C and VEGF-D. Staining intensities were categorized as absent, weak, moderate or strong. Expression was related to clinicopathological characteristics and survival.


Immunohistochemical positivity (defined as moderate or strong expression) was observed for VEGF-A in 90%, VEGF-B in 4%, VEGF-C in 41% and VEGF-D in 55% of the primary ovarian cancers. VEGF-A expression correlated with VEGF-C and VEGF-D expression (P < 0.01). Simultaneous positivity for VEGF-A and VEGF-C or VEGF-D was observed in 38% and 54% of the cancers, respectively. Metastases showed positivity for VEGF-A in 78%, VEGF-B in 5%, VEGF-C in 26% and VEGF-D in 45% of cases. VEGF family member expression showed no independent prognostic significance in multivariate survival analysis.


VEGF-A, VEGF-C and VEGF-D are widely and often simultaneously expressed in ovarian cancer, which may contribute to bevacizumab resistance. Measuring their expression could support a rational, individualized choice of anti-angiogenic therapy and might be of predictive value. Studies are warranted to determine whether combinatorial analysis of VEGF family member expression can be used to predict anti-angiogenic drug efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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