Quantification of angiogenesis as a prognostic marker in human carcinomas: a critical evaluation of histopathological methods for estimation of vascular density

Eur J Cancer. 2003 May;39(7):881-90. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(02)00663-9.


Chalkley counts have been suggested as the primary method for immunohistochemical evaluation of angiogenesis, however, most studies have used microvessel density (MVD). We present paired Chalkley and MVD estimates in carcinomas of the prostate, breast, bladder and lung. The clinical data has previously been reported. In prostate carcinomas, high MVD indicated poor prognosis, whereas high Chalkley counts in breast carcinoma were associated with a poor prognosis. In bladder carcinoma, high estimates using both methods showed good prognosis and were associated with a high degree of inflammation. Neither of the counts revealed prognostic value in lung carcinomas, where the vascular pattern indicated that this cancer was non-angiogenic. We highlight methodological problems with both counting methods. Since angiogenic processes in lung and bladder cancers may be different from those occuring in prostate cancer, we suggest that future analyses also focus on measuring angiogenic factors to obtain more information on the biology of angiogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / blood supply*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Microcirculation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor