, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 37–43 | Cite as

Platelets and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF): A morphological and functional study

  • Roberto Salgado
  • Ina Benoy
  • Johannes Bogers
  • Reinhilde Weytjens
  • Peter Vermeulen
  • Luc Dirix
  • Eric Van Marck


The growth of primary tumours beyond a critical mass is dependent on angiogenesis. The switch to the angiogenic phenotype involves changes in the local equilibrium of cytokines with either pro- or anti-angiogenic properties. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) is one of the major positive regulators of tumour angiogenesis. Serum VEGF is, in cancer patients, correlated with worse prognosis. Recent evidence suggests that platelets are the main contributors of serum VEGF. We demonstrate, ultrastructurally and with immunofluorescence techniques, the alpha granule and membranous localisation of VEGF and provide further evidence for the role of platelets, both in healthy individuals as in patients with locally and advanced breast cancer, in the storage of circulating VEGF. We also demonstrate that, linear with tumoural progression, platelets accumulate more VEGF. Enhanced production in bone marrow platelet progenitors as well as endocytosis of circulating VEGF by platelets and/or megakaryocytes could explain the higher VEGF load in platelets from advanced cancer patients. This study provides further evidence for a role of platelets in transporting VEGF.

angiogenesis platelets platelet VEGF load VEGF VEGF receptor 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Salgado
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ina Benoy
    • 1
  • Johannes Bogers
    • 2
  • Reinhilde Weytjens
    • 1
  • Peter Vermeulen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Luc Dirix
    • 1
  • Eric Van Marck
    • 2
  1. 1.Angiogenesis Group, Oncologic CentreSt.-Augustinus HospitalBelgium
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of Antwerp (UA)WilrijkBelgium

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