Objectives: To determine the presence of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) in the aqueous humor of eyes with uveal melanoma and to identify its source.
Methods: The VEGF-A concentrations were determined in aqueous humor samples obtained after enucleation from 74 eyes with untreated uveal melanoma and from 8 eyes with treated uveal melanoma. Patient survival and clinical and histopathological tumor variables were compared. In situ hybridization, Western blot analysis, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were used to determine expression of VEGF-A in tumor tissue and in overlying retina.
Results: Aqueous VEGF-A concentrations ranged from 18 to 826 pg/mL in 74 untreated eyes, while concentrations in 30 control eyes were significantly lower (median, 50.1 pg/mL) (P<.001). Concentrations in 8 treated eyes were much higher (median, 364 pg/mL). In situ hybridization on tissue sections and Western blot analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay on tissue extracts revealed VEGF-A in uveal melanoma tissue and in retinal tissue.
Conclusions: Uveal melanoma is associated with increased concentrations of VEGF-A in aqueous humor. Aqueous VEGF-A concentration correlates with largest basal tumor diameter and with the tumor height. In eyes with uveal melanoma, tumor and retinal tissues are sources of VEGF-A.