Background: Several experimental and clinical data suggest that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is involved in ovarian carcinogenesis. However, there are no conclusive data about the prognostic value of tissue VEGF expression in this malignancy. The aim of the present investigation was to compare VEGF immunostaining in primary tumors and peritoneal metastases from patients with advanced ovarian carcinoma and to assess whether this parameter has a predictive or prognostic relevance.
Materials and methods: The investigation was conducted on 45 patients who underwent initial surgery followed by platinum-based or paclitaxel/platinum-based chemotherapy for advanced ovarian carcinoma. Both primary tumors and peritoneal metastases were immunohistochemically analyzed for VEGF expression. Intense staining score was assigned if more than 75% of the cells stained positive.
Results: Intense VEGF immunostaining was detected in 14 and 36 (31.1% versus 80.0%, p < 0.0001), respectively, of primary tumors and peritoneal metastases. Twenty-six (57.8%) patients showed an increased VEGF immunostaining in metastatic lesions compared with primary tumors. VEGF immunostaining in primary tumors, VEGF immunostaining in peritoneal metastases and change in VEGF immunostaining from the primary tumor to peritoneal metastatic lesion were related neither to the response to chemotherapy nor to progression-free survival.
Conclusion: In patients with advanced ovarian carcinoma, intense VEGF immunostaining was more often detected in peritoneal metastases than in primary tumors. VEGF immunostaining in primary as well as in metastatic lesions correlated neither with the response to chemotherapy nor with the clinical outcome. Therefore the immunohistochemical detection of VEGF in tissue samples collected during primary surgery failed to have a predictive or prognostic relevance for patients with advanced ovarian carcinoma.