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J Clin Pathol. 2019 Apr;72(4):304-310. doi: 10.1136/jclinpath-2018-205536. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Microvessel density in breast cancer: the impact of field area on prognostic informativeness.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway maria.r.kraby@ntnu.no.
2
Department of Public Health and Nursing, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
3
Department of Cancer Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
4
Department of Pathology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
5
Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

Abstract

AIMS:

Tumour microvessel density (MVD) is assessed by counting vessels in the most vascularised tumour region, the vascular hot spot. Current uncertainty regarding the prognostic role of MVD in breast cancer could, in part, be explained by variations in field area size for MVD assessment. We aimed to identify the field area size that provides the most accurate prognostic information in breast carcinoma.

METHODS:

MVD was assessed in 212 tumours. von Willebrand factor positively stained vessels were counted in 10 consecutive visual fields in vascular hotspots. The 10 visual fields in the original counting sequence (MVD-Consecutive) were sorted from highest to lowest vessel count (MVD-Decreasing), and randomly (MVD-Random). After adding counts from one visual field at a time, mean MVD was calculated for each cumulative field area. The prognostic informativeness of each field area and sorting strategy were compared.

RESULTS:

Median MVD decreased with increasing field size for MVD-Decreasing and MVD-Consecutive. A 0.35 mm2 total field area comprising only the highest vessel counts provided the most accurate prognostic information (MVD-Decreasing, HR for breast cancer death 1.06 per 10 vessels/mm2 increase, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.10). MVD-Decreasing gave more accurate prognostic information than MVD-Consecutive and MVD-Random, with decreasing prognostic informativeness with increasing field area.

CONCLUSIONS:

Median MVD and its prognostic informativeness decreased with increasing field area. Assessing MVD in a carefully selected small field area of 0.35 mm2 provides the most accurate prognostic information. This could facilitate the implementation of MVD assessment in breast cancer.

KEYWORDS:

blood vessels; breast cancer; breast pathology; immunohistochemistry; tumour biology

PMID:
30630872
DOI:
10.1136/jclinpath-2018-205536
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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