Expression of thymidine phosphorylase and vascular endothelial cell growth factor in human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and their different characteristics

Cancer. 1999 Feb 15;85(4):960-9. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0142(19990215)85:4<960::aid-cncr26>;2-p.


Background: Thymidine phosphorylase (dThdPase) is identical to platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor (PD-ECGF). dThdPase is known to promote the development of new blood vessels, which are fundamental to tumor growth and metastasis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a 34-42 kilodalton (kD) protein that induces both angiogenesis and vascular permeability. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is a 36 kD nuclear protein, and its expression is associated with DNA synthesis and cell proliferation.

Methods: The authors investigated the correlations of dThdPase and VEGF with the growth of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in 95 patients by examining PCNA expression as a marker of tumor proliferation. They also retrospectively examined the expression of dThdPase in primary HNSCC and its association with angiogenesis and clinicopathologic findings.

Results: Microvessel count was significantly correlated with the expression of VEGF (P = 0.046) but not with dThdPase expression. The expression of PCNA was significantly correlated with dThdPase (P < 0.001) but not VEGF expression. A significant correlation was found between VEGF and dThdPase expression (P = 0.003). Neither dThdPase nor VEGF correlated with clinicopathologic findings, except for the correlation between tumor location and VEGF expression (P 0.020).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that VEGF is involved in angiogenesis in HNSCC. dThdPase may have effects on tumor growth other than angiogenic activity in HNSCC.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / blood supply
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lymphokines / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microcirculation
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / metabolism
  • Thymidine Phosphorylase / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Thymidine Phosphorylase