Serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF-C levels as tumor markers in patients with cervical carcinoma

Akira Mitsuhashi, Kiyomi Suzuka, Koji Yamazawa, Hideo Matsui, Katsuyoshi Seki, Souei Sekiya
Cancer 2005 February 15, 103 (4): 724-30

BACKGROUND: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF-C play a crucial role in the regulation of tumor growth and metastasis. The current study examined the significance of serum VEGF and VEGF-C levels in relation to conventional clinicopathologic parameters, response to treatment, and survival in patients with cervical carcinoma.

METHODS: Between December 1999 and March 2004, serum VEGF and VEGF-C levels were analyzed in 78 patients with cervical carcinoma undergoing primary treatment (primary surgery [n=40] and radiotherapy [n=38]), as well as in 30 healthy controls. Serum VEGF and VEGF-C levels were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay before and within 2 weeks after treatment.

RESULTS: Serum VEGF and VEGF-C levels were higher in patients with cervical carcinoma than in the healthy control (P=0.0002 and P=0.0007, respectively). Both VEGF and VEGF-C concentrations increased significantly in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC vs. normal control: P<0.0001 and P=0.0001, respectively), but not in adenocarcinoma (vs. normal control: P=0.2982 and P=0.7766, respectively). In an analysis of SCC, the pretherapeutic serum levels of VEGF and VEGF-C correlated significantly with advanced International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage and large tumor size, but not with lymph node metastasis. The pretherapeutic serum level of VEGF-C also correlated significantly with disease recurrence or persistence after treatment. Both serum VEGF and VEGF-C levels decreased significantly after treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: The serum levels of both VEGF and VEGF-C have potential usefulness as biologic markers of SCC of the uterine cervix.

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