Background: Venous and combined malformations are slow-flow haemodynamically inactive lesions that are present at birth and worsen slowly with advancing age, showing no tendency towards involution. The pathogenesis of vascular anomalies has not been fully elucidated, but their formation and progression are closely related to angiogenesis. Localized intravascular coagulation associated with venous or combined malformations is characterized by low fibrinogen, high D-dimers, and normal platelet count.
Objectives: To assess the relationship of angiogenic factors with prothrombotic and endothelial damage/dysfunction markers in patients with extensive slow-flow vascular malformations.
Methods: A 2-year study (2005-2007) included 31 consecutive patients with extensive slow-flow vascular malformations from one centre.
Results: Serum levels of the endothelial receptor tyrosine kinase TIE-2, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and angiopoietin (Ang)-2 and plasma levels of D-dimer, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1), tissue-type plasminogen activator and von Willebrand factor (vWf) were significantly increased in patients compared with healthy controls, whereas serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C, VEGF-D, MMP-2, Ang-1, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-AB and PDGF-BB were significantly decreased in patients compared with controls. A strong positive correlation was present between Ang-1 and PDGF-AB levels (r = 0.63, P < 0.001), between PDGF-AB and PDGF-BB levels (r = 0.67, P < 0.001), and between fibrinogen and PAI-1 levels (r = 0.41, P = 0.031). A strong negative correlation was present between Ang-1 and vWf levels (r = -0.48, P = 0.006), between D-dimer and fibrinogen levels (r = -0.71, P < 0.001), and between PDGF-AB and vWf levels (r = -0.42, P = 0.017).
Conclusions: These findings suggest that angiogenic, coagulation and endothelial damage/dysfunction markers are possibly linked in pathogenesis of extensive slow-flow vascular malformations, and might have therapeutic implications.