Aim: Angiogenesis is required for tumour growth. Its evaluation, by intratumoural microvessel density (IMD), has prognostic significance in many solid tumours. There is controversy regarding its use in pancreatic cancer and little is known about its role in ampullary tumours. The aim is to study IMD as a prognostic marker in resected ductal adenocarcinomas of head of pancreas and cancers of the ampullary region.
Methods: Forty-seven patients (23 pancreatic and 24 ampullary, mean age 62.0 years) surviving a potentially curative (R0/R1) resection were analysed. Paraffin-embedded sections of these tumours were immunohistochemically stained for CD-34 and IMD was determined (magnification x200). This was correlated with histopathological data and survival using Cox's multivariate analysis.
Results: Mean survival for the pancreatic cancer group was 18.4 months (SE=2.7) and 81.2 months (SE=9.9) for the ampullary cancer group. In the pancreatic cancer group, IMD was found to have independent prognostic significance to survival on multivariate analysis (P=0.002, Hazard Ratio (HR) 13.60) along with microscopic resection margin involvement (P=0.003, HR 15.18). For ampullary cancers, IMD was higher in those with lymph node metastasis (P=0.02, Mann-Whitney U -test).
Conclusion: IMD in resected pancreatic cancers correlates with survival.