Vascular endothelial growth factor expression in malignant melanoma: prognostic versus diagnostic usefulness

Mod Pathol. 1999 Aug;12(8):770-4.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an endothelial cell mitogen, plays a role in angiogenesis and progression in malignant melanoma. VEGF expression was examined in 62 biopsy specimens of melanocytic proliferations, including 45 malignant melanomas, 3 cellular blue nevi, 12 atypical compound nevi, and 2 Spitz nevi. The cases of malignant melanoma included 11 in situ melanomas, 18 Clark Level II, 9 Clark Level III, and 7 Clark Level IV tissue samples. All of the specimens were fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. Cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for VEGF was demonstrated in 19 (42%) of 45 melanoma samples, but there was no immunoreactivity for VEGF exhibited by any of the atypical compound melanocytic nevi, cellular blue nevi, or Spitz nevi (P < .009). Immunoreactivity for VEGF was found to be related to tumor thickness (as evidenced by Clark level [P < .03]) and to absence of regression (P < .04). Although VEGF is not a useful prognostic indicator for malignant melanoma, it may be useful as a discriminating factor between malignant melanoma and benign melanocytic lesions, and it may offer some insight into tumor growth.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphokines / biosynthesis*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nevus / diagnosis
  • Nevus / metabolism*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors