, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 117-125

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in Astrocytic Gliomas – A Prognostic Factor?

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Survival in astrocytic gliomas is closely related to WHO tumor grade. Within one tumor grade, especially in grade II and III tumors, the clinical course is variable and can hardly be predicted by histological criteria. Neovascularization is a neuropathological hallmark in high grade gliomas and angiogenic factors may play an important role in malignant tumor progression. Therefore, 162 primary astrocytic gliomas (57 astrocytomas WHO grade II, 27 astrocytomas WHO grade III and 78 glioblastomas WHO grade IV) were investigated immunohistochemically for expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is considered to represent the main angiogenic factor in astrocytic gliomas. Clinical data known to influence prognosis were documented. VEGF expression was found in 21 of 57 astrocytomas WHO grade II (36.8%), in 18 of 27 astrocytomas WHO grade III (66.7%) and in 50 of 78 glioblastomas (64.1%). A strong correlation between VEGF expression and survival was found within the whole study group, however, within one tumor grade no such correlation was obvious. In a multifactorial analysis VEGF expression was not found to be an independent prognostic factor in astrocytic gliomas.