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Am J Pathol. 1994 Sep;145(3):510-4.

Extent of vascularization as a prognostic indicator in thin (< 0.76 mm) malignant melanomas.

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  • 1Cancer Research Division, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, Reichmann Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Angiogenesis in malignant melanoma (MM) was evaluated by comparing mean vessel number (MVN) in Spitz's nevi (SN), thick and thin MMs that metastasized, and thick and thin MMs with > or = 10-year survival. Vessels were identified with antibodies against factor VIII-related antigen (FVIII) and CD34 in 37 MMs (17 < or = 1.9 mm and 20 > or = 4.0 mm) with > or = 10-year follow-up and 10 SN from children (< or = 9 years old). Fields (x250) with the highest vessel density were counted by independent observers blinded to clinical outcome. There were no differences in MVN between SN versus MMs (P = 1.0), but the distribution of vessels was much more uniform in SN. Seven MM pairs (> or = 5.5 mm) and five pairs (< or = 0.75 mm) were matched by sex, age, site, stage, and primary treatment (paired t-test). In the pairs > or = 5.5 mm, there was no correlation with MVN with either metastasis or death (FVIII P = 0.98; CD34 P = 0.85). Among the thin paired lesions, high MVN (FVIII = 46, CD34 = 39) was significantly related not only to metastasis (FVIII P = 0.04, CD34 P = 0.03) but also to death (FVIII P = 0.04, CD34 P = 0.05). MVN does not separate SN versus MM nor predict outcome in thick (> or = 4.0 mm) MMs; however, high MVN (> or = 42 average) is predictive of metastasis and death in MMs < or = 0.75 mm. Larger matched studies are indicated to confirm this observation.

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