Objective/hypothesis: To determine if angiogenic growth factors including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor (PD-ECGF) are expressed in human paragangliomas.
Study design: A histopathologic and molecular examination of paraganglioma specimens obtained from surgical cases or retrieved from the Pathology Department of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Methods: Fresh tumor or archival, paraffin-embedded paraganglioma specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and ELISA.
Results: Positive immunohistochemical staining for VEGF was observed in five of nine surgical specimens and in six of eight archival specimens (11/17, or 65%). PD-ECGF immunoreactivity was detected in four of five surgical specimens and six of eight archival specimens (10/13, or 77%). The presence of PD-ECGF was confirmed by Western blot assay and ELISA confirmed the presence of VEGF in tumor extract.
Conclusions: Both VEGF and PD-ECGF are expressed in paragangliomas and may contribute to the extreme vascularity of these tumors. Key Words. Vascular endothelial growth factor, platelet-derived, endothelial cell growth factor, hypoxia, tumor vasculature.