Background: Previously it was demonstrated that in prostate tumors, angiogenesis measured as microvessel density (MVD) is associated with tumor stage as well as WHO grade and is an independent predictor of clinical outcome. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a major inducer of angiogenesis. There is some evidence that P53 mutations cause overexpression of VEGF. We studied VEGF expression, p53 overexpression, and P53 mutations in prostate cancer (PCA) to investigate the role of VEGF as an angiogenic marker and the possible deregulation of VEGF as a result of P53 mutations in PCA.
Methods: Immunohistochemical staining with a polyclonal VEGF antibody was performed in 55 paraffin-embedded PCA, in which MVD had previously been determined, as well as in 5 prostatic adenomas (PA) and 20 adjacent normal prostate tissues. In addition, 37 PCA and 5 PAs were examined for p53 expression by immunohistochemistry. Temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE) was performed in 13 of these PCA to screen for P53 mutations. VEGF expression, p53 expression, and mutations were then correlated with tumor stage, grade, MVD, and clinical outcome.
Results: While PA and normal prostate tissue generally showed no or only low VEGF expression, there was a significant increase in VEGF expression with tumor stage, grade, and MVD in PCA. During clinical follow-up (mean, 31.9 months), 9 of 55 patients had tumor progression. Significant differences in VEGF expression were found between patients with tumor progression and those without (P = 0.0004). Of the 37 PCA evaluated for p53 expression, 12 exhibited p53 overexpression. TGGE revealed P53 mutations in 3 of 13 PCA. However, there was no correlation between VEGF expression, p53 overexpression, and P53 mutation, respectively.
Conclusions: VEGF seems to be an important, clinically relevant inducer of angiogenesis in PCA. VEGF expression was shown to correlate positively with tumor stage, grade, MVD, and clinical outcome. However, regulation of VEGF in PCA appears to be independent of p53 expression.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.