Chapter 14. Measuring intratumoral microvessel density

Methods Enzymol. 2008;444:305-23. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(08)02814-0.


For a tumor to grow beyond a limited volume of 1-2 mm(3), the tumor cells must not only proliferate, but they must be able to induce the growth of new capillary blood vessels from the host. As early as 1971, it was proposed that tumor growth was dependent on angiogenesis; and, that tumor cells and blood vessels composed a highly integrated ecosystem, that endothelial cells could be switched from a resting state to one of rapid growth by a diffusible signal from tumor cells, and that anti-angiogenesis may become an effective anti-cancer therapy. Indeed, now there is considerable indirect and direct evidence to show that tumor growth is angiogenesis dependent, that tumor cells can produce diffusible angiogenic regulatory molecules, and that angiogenesis inhibitors can slow or prevent tumor growth, and that angiogenesis is a relevant target for anti-cancer therapy. Measuring intratumoral microvessel density (iMVD) in vascular "hot spots" has been shown to correlate with aggressive tumor behavior. This chapter reviews the techniques available for measuring iMVD.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Microvessels / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*