Expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptors 1 and 2 in acute myeloid leukemia: incidence and feasibility of immunohistochemical staining

Clin Lab Haematol. 2006 Aug;28(4):254-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2257.2006.00802.x.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor tyrosine kinases, VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2, are important therapeutic targets for various cancers including AML. Paraffin-embedded bone marrow samples (PE-BM) are, in most cases, the only tissue accessible to perform retrospective analyses of novel targets such as VEGF and/or its receptors. As a result, it limits our options to immunohistochemistry (IHS), or more expensive and less practical techniques such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). We analyzed the feasibility of IHS to measure VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 expression in 28 AML samples using monoclonal antibodies (moAbs) against Flt-1 (VEGFR-1) and KDR/Flk-1 (VEGFR-2). Medical records were reviewed for relevant clinical information. Expression of VEGFR-1 (+) and VEGFR-2 (+) were seen in 25% (7/28) and 43% (12/28) respectively. Forty-six percent (13/28) were dual-negatives for VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2; 14% (4/28) were dual-positives for VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2. An inferior survival was observed in patients whose myeloblasts express either VEGFR-1 (+) or VEGFR-2 (+), or both. Determination of expression of VEGF receptors (1 and 2) by IHS in PE-BM tissue is feasible. Prospective comparison of IHC to flow cytometry or other molecular techniques, and assessment of the prognostic significance of VEGF receptors in AML patients is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Marrow / chemistry*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1 / analysis*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / analysis*


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2