Prognostic relevance of microvessel density in colorectal tumours

Oncol Rep. Jul-Aug 1999;6(4):839-42. doi: 10.3892/or.6.4.839.


The importance of angiogenesis as a prognostic marker has been examined in 111 colorectal cancer patients with a minimum follow-up of 5 years. Tumour sections were immunostained with pan-endothelial antibody to CD31. Microvessels were identified and counted in 5 separate areas of highest vascularity (<hot spots>). Analysis of the data showed that the survival was not significantly affected by tumour site, size, grade, patients' age or gender. However, a statistically significant correlation was found between microvessel density (MVD) and survival: patients with an increased number of microvessels survived longer than those with a low number of microvessels (p=0.0007). Therefore, paradoxically, unlike other tumour types, in colorectal cancer MVD appears to be an indicator of good prognosis. The reasons that MVD correlates with good or poor prognosis are likely to vary in different tumours. For instance a frequent difficult issue in colon cancer is the presence of ulceration and adjacent severe inflammation which by itself can increase vascularity. Furthermore, overall prognosis will also depend on other factors, such as oncogenes, extracellular matrix components, adhesion molecules, growth factors, degree of apoptosis and the mode of metastatic spread.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microcirculation
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate


  • Biomarkers, Tumor