Elevated perioperative serum vascular endothelial growth factor levels in patients with colon carcinoma

Ferdinando De Vita, Michele Orditura, Eva Lieto, Stefania Infusino, Floriana Morgillo, Erika Martinelli, Paolo Castellano, Ciro Romano, Fortunato Ciardiello, Giuseppe Catalano, Carlo Pignatelli, Gennaro Galizia
Cancer 2004 January 15, 100 (2): 270-8

BACKGROUND: To the authors' knowledge, little is known to date regarding the prognostic relevance of measuring serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent stimulator of angiogenesis, in patients with colon carcinoma who undergo surgery.

METHODS: Preoperative and postoperative VEGF serum levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunoadsorbent assay in 81 patients with colon carcinoma who were undergoing surgery. Fifty healthy individuals served to define normal VEGF serum levels.

RESULTS: Preoperative VEGF serum levels were significantly higher in the group of patients with colon carcinoma (mean, 504.1 pg/mL +/- 223 pg/mL; range, 285-1390 pg/mL; 95% confidence interval [95%CI], 49 pg/mL) compared with the control group (mean, 78.1 pg/mL +/- 22 pg/mL; range, 40-110 pg/mL; 95%CI, 4.3 pg/mL; P < 0.001). Multiple regression analysis demonstrated a significant correlation (r) between preoperative VEGF serum levels and age (r = - 0.275; P = 0.013), Dukes stage (r = 0.488; P < 0.001), and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels (r = 0.285; P < 0.018). No significant correlation was found between preoperative VEGF serum levels and disease site, patient gender, tumor size, tumor grade, or performance status. Moreover, preoperative VEGF serum levels were significantly lower in patients who underwent curative surgery compared with patients who underwent noncurative surgery (443 pg/mL +/- 117 pg/mL vs. 821 +/- 353 pg/mL, respectively; P < 0.0001). Logistic regression analysis selected preoperative VEGF and CEA serum levels as the only good prognostic indicators of curative and noncurative surgery (P < 0.001; relative risk, 2.98 and 2.03, respectively). Furthermore, VEGF serum levels dropped significantly after surgery, with a further downward trend until the 30th postoperative day (P < 0.001). Stepwise regression analysis selected preoperative VEGF serum level as the only variable associated significantly with the prediction of both disease-specific survival and disease-free survival (P = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative serum VEGF levels may be useful for predicting outcome in patients with colon carcinoma who undergo surgery.

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