, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1005-1014
Date: 31 Oct 2007

Positive VEGF Immunostaining Independently Predicts Poor Prognosis in Curatively Resected Gastric Cancer Patients: Results of a Study Assessing a Panel of Angiogenic Markers

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Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) contribute to gastric cancer aggressiveness by up-regulating the expression of proteases. We evaluated the expression and the prognostic significance of angiogenic factors and proteases in 148 patients with R0-resected gastric cancer. Expression of VEGF, Ang-2, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its inhibitor PAI-1, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-1 and -9 were assayed by immunohistochemistry. After a mean of 63 ± 4 months, 81 out of 148 patients had died due to disease. The probability of being free of recurrence was 62, 48, and 42% at 2, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Single bivariate analysis identified VEGF, Ang-2, COX-2, PAI-1, and MMP-9 expression, along with several clinicopathological parameters (grade of curability, lymph node ratio, pTNM, pT, pN), as variables associated with both decreased disease-specific survival and recurrence. On multivariate analysis, after adjusting for significant clinical covariables, positive VEGF immunostaining was the primary prognostic factor, and no other tumor marker variable could add any significant improvement for the prediction, for both disease-specific survival (p = 0.001; HR, 3.27; 95% CI, 1.76 to 6.10) and tumor recurrence (p = 0.002; HR, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.48 to 5.35). Our study suggests that VEGF alone may be clinically useful for establishing therapeutic decisions in gastric cancer patients.

Presented in part at the 41st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Orlando, Fl, May 13–17, 2005 (poster presentation).
Óscar Vidal, Antonio Soriano-Izquierdo, contributed equally to this work.