Evaluation of microvascular density in tumors: pro and contra

Histol Histopathol. 2008 May;23(5):601-7. doi: 10.14670/HH-23.601.


Microvascular density (MVD) counting protocols have become the morphological gold standard to assess the neovasculature in human tumors. This method requires the use of specific markers to vascular endothelium and of immunohistochemical procedures to visualize microvessels. MVD determined in primary tumors is significantly associated with metastasis and prognosis in several tumors and is most predictive in those tumors that induce significant angiogenesis, namely carcinomas of breast and prostate, and haematological malignancies. There is such a wide range of antibodies and suppliers, antigen retrieval methods, designation of high and low vessel count groups, patient study groups and data interpretation, that it is exceedingly difficult to compare results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / chemistry
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation / chemistry
  • Microcirculation / metabolism
  • Microcirculation / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / diagnosis*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / analysis
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1