Background: Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from the existing vascular bed, is essential step for the growth and invasion of the primary tumor. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is known to play crucial role in tumor angiogenesis. Increased serum VEGF levels may be associated with poor prognosis in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methodology: In the present study, we measured plasma VEGF levels in 20 normal subjects and 75 patients with untreated NSCLC; 23 operable (stages I, II, IIIA) and 52 inoperable (stages IIIB, IV) (Histology: squamous cell carcinoma, 40; adenocarcinoma, 27; undetermined, 8). VEGF was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: The median VEGF level in patient group was 119 pg/ml (29-1235), which was significantly higher than the control group (P = 0.044). Median survival of patients was 210 days (30-220). The patients were divided into high VEGF (> 119 pg/ml) and low VEGF (< 119 pg/ml) groups using the median value as a cut-off. It was investigated if there were significant associations between serum VEGF level and clinico-pathological parameters like age, sex, histopathological diagnosis and TNM staging. Also high VEGF and low VEGF patient groups were compared according to the median survival.
Conclusions: Serum VEGF level is significantly associated with the clinical staging of the patients (operable and inoperable) (P = 0.031) and it also correlates with the prognosis of the patients (P = 0.0006).