Objective: To investigate the protein expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms in relation to the clinical course in patients with different renal cell carcinoma (RCC) types, as angiogenesis is essential for tumour growth and metastasis.
Patients and methods: Western blots were assayed of protein extracts from tumour and concomitant kidney cortex samples from 96 patients. The levels of VEGF189, VEGF165, and VEGF121 isoforms were correlated with clinicopathological characteristics and survival.
Results: VEGF189 levels were significantly higher in kidney cortex and chromophobe RCC than in papillary and conventional RCC. In papillary RCCs, VEGF189 levels correlated inversely with tumour stage and tumour size. VEGF165 levels were higher in kidney cortex than in RCC, but there was no difference among the RCC types. VEGF121 expression was associated with less advanced tumour stage in conventional RCC. Using multivariate analysis, VEGF189 remained as an independent prognostic factor for patients with papillary RCC.
Conclusions: VEGF189 was associated with tumour progression; in papillary RCC, VEGF189 was a significant independent prognostic factor. VEGF protein isoform patterns differed among the specific RCC types. Additional knowledge is essential to design new anti-angiogenic therapies for all RCC types.