Objective: To evaluate the effect of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF, one of the most important angiogenetic factors) in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) by analysing many RCCs for the expression of immunohistochemical (IHC) VEGF-staining related to clinicopathological findings and survival.
Patients and methods: VEGF immunostaining was examined with the tissue microarray (TMA) method on tumour samples from 229 patients and validated in 71 by ordinary tissue sections (TS). IHC VEGF expression was quantified by estimating the volume density and staining intensity on a three-grade scale.
Results: In most RCCs there was VEGF staining in the cell cytoplasm and membrane. In cell membranes the VEGF expression declined with storage time. IHC VEGF expression analysed by TMA and TS gave corresponding results. There was no difference in VEGF expression among conventional, papillary and chromophobe RCCs. There were significant correlations between VEGF expression and tumour size and stage. In univariate analysis VEGF expression correlated with survival, especially in conventional RCCs; this prognostic information was lost in multivariate analysis. The VEGF staining intensity correlated only with VEGF expression but not with any clinicopathological factors.
Conclusions: VEGF protein was present in most RCC cells. There was no difference in VEGF expression among the different RCC types. The correlation between VEGF expression and tumour stage and with prognosis indicates the significance of VEGF within tumour growth and progression in RCC.