Aims: Evaluation of angiogenesis by intratumoral vessel profiles can be performed by different methods. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of estimates obtained by the intratumoral microvessel density (MVD) method and then to compare with corresponding estimates obtained by the Chalkley method.
Methods and results: A total of 330 patients treated for primary, unilateral, invasive breast carcinoma were included. The median follow-up time was 14 years and 4 months. The microvessels were immunohistochemically stained by antibodies to CD34. MVD was not significantly correlated with any clinicopathological variables. By univariate analysis, MVD showed no prognostic value with regard to recurrence-free survival (RFS) or overall survival (OS), while the Chalkley count had significant prognostic value (P < 0.0001; RFS and OS). In the Cox multivariate analysis, MVD had no prognostic impact [median HR [confidence interval (CI)] was 0.93 [0.66, 1.32] for RFS; and HR [CI] was 0.86 [0.62, 1.19] for OS], while the Chalkley count [median HR (CI) was 2.12 (1.48, 3.06) for RFS; and HR (CI) was 1.71 (1.23, 2.37) for OS] provided independent prognostic value when adjusted for age, menopausal status, axillary lymph node status, tumour size, histological grade, adjuvant systemic treatment and radiation therapy. In comparing the results obtained by MVD in our study with those from other published studies we find good agreement.
Conclusions: The Chalkley count technique seems to be preferable for estimating angiogenesis with regard to the prognostic stratification of breast cancer patients, based on its strong prognostic impact, and acceptable reproducibility.