Aim: To analyze vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), c-erbB-2 and c-erbB-3 expression and to evaluate their relation to clinicopathologic parameters and pathogenesis of colorectal carcinoma.
Methods: Sections of adenoma, intramucosal carcinoma and adenocarcinoma were evaluated by immunohistochemistry in 85 malignant and 37 benign colorectal neoplasms for the expression of VEGF, c-erbB-2 and c-erbB-3 considering clinicopathological variables.
Results: VEGF was detected in comparable percentages of all neoplasm types while c-erbB-2 expression was detectable more frequently in adenoma than adenocarcinoma cases (65% vs 43%). Except for the correlation of c-erbB-3 expression with Dukes' staging, there was no correlation between the studied markers and grade of differentiation, Dukes' stage and localization of colorectal adenocarcinoma. c-erbB-3 expression was seen more frequently in tubular adenomas, while c-erbB-2 expression was higher in tubulovillous and villous types. These differences were not statistically significant. The presence of distant metastasis and angiolymphatic invasion were identified as independent predictors of survival. A positive correlation was found between VEGF expression and lymphatic vessel invasion and regional lymph node involvement.
Conclusion: These results suggest that VEGF, c-erbB-2, c-erbB-3 expression does not have prognostic value in colorectal cancer. VEGF expression may be implicated in the lymph node metastasis.