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Am J Pathol. 1995 Oct;147(4):1049-56.

Tumor vascularity is not a prognostic factor for malignant melanoma of the skin.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Tumor vascularity has been proposed as a prognostic indicator for a number of solid tumors. Although a correlation between microvessel number and metastatic behavior has also been suggested for cutaneous melanoma, the small number of cases studied to date allows one to draw only preliminary conclusions. In this study, we have assessed tumor vascularity in cutaneous melanoma by comparing 60 cases of metastasizing and non-metastasizing tumors matched for tumor thickness, age, sex, and anatomic site. Ulex europaeus agglutinin I appeared to be the most suitable vascular marker for this study. Our results indicate that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups with regard to tumor vascularity. Even after identifying 15 cases of thin ( < 1.0 mm thick) melanoma, there was no significant difference in the number of microvessels between metastasizing and non-metastasizing tumors. Comparison of patterns of vascular microarchitecture also failed to discriminate between the two groups. Thus, our results indicate that tumor vascularity may not be an independent prognostic factor for cutaneous melanoma.

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