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High microvessel density, an indirect measure of angiogenesis, has been shown to correlate with increased tumour size, lymph node involvement and poor prognosis in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Tumour cell vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor (PD-ECGF) expression correlate with angiogenesis and a poor outcome in this disease. In a retrospective study VEGF and PD-ECGF expression and microvessel density were evaluated immunohistochemically in surgically resected specimens (T1-3, N0-2) from 223 patients with operable NSCLC using the VG1, P-GF.44C and JC70 monoclonal antibodies respectively. High VEGF immunoreactivity was seen in 104 (46.6%) and PD-ECGF in 72 (32.3%) cases and both were associated with high vascular grade tumours (P= 0.009 and P= 0.05 respectively). Linear regression analysis revealed a weak positive correlation between VEGF and PD-ECGF expression in cancer cells (r= 0.21; P = 0.002). Co-expression of VEGF and PD-ECGF was not associated with a higher microvessel density than VEGF or PD-ECGF only expressing tumours. Furthermore a proportion of high vascular grade tumours expressed neither growth factor. Univariate analysis revealed tumour size, nodal status, microvessel density and VEGF and PD-ECGF expression as significant prognostic factors. Tumour size (P < 0.02) and microvessel density (P < 0.04) remained significant on multivariate analysis. In conclusion, VEGF and PD-ECGF are important angiogenic growth factors and have prognostic significance in NSCLC. Furthermore the study underlines the prognostic significance of microvessel density in operable NSCLC.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





1427 - 1432


Adenocarcinoma, Analysis of Variance, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Endothelial Growth Factors, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Lung Neoplasms, Lymphokines, Microcirculation, Neoplasm Staging, Neovascularization, Pathologic, Observer Variation, Prognosis, Protein Isoforms, Survival Analysis, Thymidine Phosphorylase, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors