Background: The aim of the current study was to assess circulating levels of endogenous endostatin in patients with renal carcinoma and to determine the relationship of these levels to circulating levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and prognosis.
Methods: The authors prospectively studied 66 patients (48 male, 18 female; mean age, 50 years) undergoing nephrectomy for renal carcinoma on clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute. Metastases were present in 51 of 66 patients (77%) at the time of nephrectomy. Preoperative and followup serum endostatin and VEGF levels were determined using competitive enzyme immunoassays and compared to a group of 32 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Associations between circulating endostatin levels and clinicopathologic variables, including survival, were determined.
Results: Preoperative endostatin levels were higher in renal carcinoma patients than in healthy controls (P = 0.05). There was a weak to moderate correlation between pretreatment serum endostatin levels and serum VEGF levels (r = 0.47; P = 0.001), and levels of both proteins increased significantly following nephrectomy (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.0001, respectively; n = 41). In addition, patients whose endostatin levels increased more than twofold after nephrectomy had significantly poorer prognoses than patients without such an increase (P = 0.018). This association was more pronounced when patients without metastases were excluded (P = 0.0037).
Conclusions: Circulating endostatin levels are elevated in patients with renal carcinoma and correlate with circulating VEGF levels. Endostatin levels increase after nephrectomy, and patients with the greatest increases experience shortened survival times. These findings suggest an association between tumor aggressiveness and the production of endogenous endostatin in patients with renal carcinoma.
Published 2002 by the American Cancer Society.