Prognostic value of bone marrow angiogenesis in multiple myeloma: use of light microscopy as well as computerized image analyzer in the assessment of microvessel density and total vascular area in multiple myeloma and its correlation with various clinical, histological, and laboratory parameters

Am J Hematol. 2006 Sep;81(9):649-56. doi: 10.1002/ajh.20639.


We studied the prognostic value of parameters of angiogenesis on bone marrow biopsies in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) patients. Angiogenesis parameters studied were the microvessel count done manually on light microscopy (MVD-A), microvessel count done by using computerized image analyzer (MVD-B), and total vascular area (TVA) measured by computerized image analyzer. One hundred ten newly diagnosed cases of MM treated at Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, were analyzed with respect to clinical features, laboratory findings, histological features, angiogenesis parameters, and responses to the treatment on follow-up. Twenty age- and sex-matched controls were studied for comparing with angiogenesis of the test cases. Bone marrow microvessels were examined using immunohistochemical staining for CD34. MVD-A (range 4.9-85.2; mean 28.2; SD 19.4), MVD-B (range 2.0-26.9; mean 11.7; SD 5.9), and TVA measured in percentage (range 0.1-17.1; mean 2.4; SD 2.5) were measured for test cases (n = 110). Grading of angiogenesis parameters of the test cases were done; such that angiogenesis parameters of controls (taken as baseline) were grade I. There was a statistically highly significant correlation between (MVD-A vs MVD-B, pcc = 0.92; MVD-A vs TVA, pcc = 0.78; MVD-B vs TVA, pcc = 0.76). The myeloma cases had significantly higher angiogenesis parameters when compared with controls (Kruskall-Wallis test, P < 0.001). "Complete responders" (n = 38/110) had significant lower angiogenesis (Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.001) than "nonresponders" (n = 72/110). On treatment follow-up "rapid disease progressors" had the highest levels of angiogenesis (mean rank for MVD-A = 84.7, MVD-B = 82.1, and TVA = 81.1). On multivariate (logistic regression) analysis, factors found to have independent prognostic significance in complete responders (adjusted odd ratio (95% CI, P value)] were: (a) MVD-B grade I [0.134 (0.10-0.16, P < 0.001)], (b) clinical substage A [0.163 (0.12-0.19, P = 0.008)], (c) Bartl's histological stage II & I [0.262 (0.2-0.32, P = 0.021)], (d) MVD-A grade I [0.28 (0.22-0.36, P = 0.03)], (e) beta2 microglobulin levels less than 3,400 ng/dl [0.31 (0.23-0.42, P = 0.04)]. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis for myeloma-related death (n = 16) shows a mean survival time (in months) of 24.75; SE = 3; 95% CI = 21-28. We conclude that MVD (particularly MVD-B) is a very good predictor for the complete response in patients of MM and should be done routinely on bone marrow biopsies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Marrow / blood supply
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / blood supply
  • Multiple Myeloma / mortality
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / mortality
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / therapy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies