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Cancer Res. 1998 Sep 1;58(17):3765-8.

Hypoxia and vascular endothelial growth factor expression in human squamous cell carcinomas using pimonidazole as a hypoxia marker.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill 27599, USA.


Hypoxia in human tumors is associated with poor prognosis, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this association are poorly understood. One possibility is that hypoxia is linked to malignant progression through vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induction and the associated angiogenesis and metastasis. The present clinical study measures hypoxia and VEGF expression on a cell-by-cell basis in human squamous cell carcinomas to test the hypothesis that hypoxia and VEGF protein expression are coupled in human tumors. Eighteen patients with invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix and head and neck have been investigated by a quantitative image analysis of immunostained sections from their tumors. The hypoxia marker pimonidazole was used to measure tumor hypoxia, and a commercially available antibody was used to measure VEGF protein expression. A quantitative immunohistochemical comparison of hypoxia and VEGF protein expression revealed no correlation between the two factors.

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