Morphometric microvascular characteristics predict prognosis in superficial and invasive bladder cancer

Virchows Arch. 2001 Jun;438(6):603-11. doi: 10.1007/s004280100400.


Recent research has shown that neovascularization, quantitated by microvessel density (MVD), constitutes a strong prognostic indicator in patients with invasive urothelial carcinomas. These studies, however, have focused only on MVD as the only factor reflecting angiogenesis in transitional-cell carcinomas (TCCs). The objective of this report was to evaluate multiple morphometric microvascular characteristics besides MVD in superficial and muscle-invasive TCCs separately, to provide a better approach to the relationship between angiogenesis, clinicopathological parameters, and prognosis. Histologic sections from 115 TCCs [35 superficial (T1) and 80 muscle-invasive] were immunostained for CD31 and evaluated using image analysis for the quantitation of MVD, area, total vascular area, major axis length, minor axis length, perimeter, compactness, shape factor, and Feret diameter. Patients were followed-up until death (n=31) or for an average of 42.2 months (median 38.5 months). MVD increased with progressing T category (P=0.049) but area (P=0.033), major axis length (P=0.022), perimeter (P=0.043), and Feret diameter (P=0.042) were highest in T2 tumors. Area was the single independent predictor of adverse significance in T1 TCCs, whereas for muscle-invasive tumors, survival was independently predicted by MVD. Regarding disease-free survival in superficial tumors, the single significant independent parameter was compactness, whereas area was an independent favorable indicator of disease-free survival for patients with invasive TCCs. It is concluded that the prognostic significance of neovascularization is better assessed by area and shape-related morphometric characteristics, whereas MVD becomes influential only with regard to overall survival of patients with invasive tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / blood supply
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microcirculation
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Observer Variation
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy