High serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor after hepatectomy are associated with poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma

Takao Tamesa, Norio Iizuka, Naohide Mori, Toshimasa Okada, Norikazu Takemoto, Akira Tangoku, Masaaki Oka
Hepato-gastroenterology 2009, 56 (93): 1122-6

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) reportedly affects the metastatic potential of tumors. We investigated in patients whether association exits between perioperative serum VEGF levels and recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

METHODOLOGY: Thirty-two patients who underwent curative resection for HCC were enrolled in this study. Blood samples were obtained at 6 points during the perioperative period: preoperative day and, postoperative days 1, 2, 3, 7 and 14). Serum VEGF levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We divided the 32 hepatocellular carcinoma patients into a high VEGF group (preoperative serum level > or = 100 pg/ ml, n = 10) and a low VEGF group (preoperative serum level < 100 pg/ml, n = 22).

RESULTS: During a median follow-up period of 27.1 months, the cancer recurred in 20 of the 32 patients. Disease-free survival in the high VEGF group was significantly poorer than that in the low VEGF group (p < 0.05). Serum VEGF levels in the high VEGF group remained significantly higher than those in the low VEGF group after hepatectomy (p < 0.05). Serum VEGF levels in the recurrent group were also significantly higher than those in the non recurrent group at preoperative day, postoperative days 2, 3 and 7 (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: High serum VEGF levels during perioperative period may be a risk factor for intrahepatic recurrence after complete resection for HCC.

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