Background: There seems to be a close interplay between angiogenesis and the immune system. The authors of this report investigated the prognostic role of angiogenic markers in coexpression with immune system markers in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods: Tumor resection samples from 335 patients with stage I to IIIA NSCLC were obtained, and tissue microarrays were constructed. Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) A (VEGF-A), VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2), and lymphocytes that were positive for the cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) and CD8 coreceptors.
Results: In univariate analysis, 5-year survival rates were 87% for the combination of low tumor cell expression of VEGF-A and VEGFR-2 (↓VEGF-A/↓VEGFR-2) and high tumor cell expression of CD4 and CD8 (↑CD4/↑CD8) (n = 19), 58% for mixed combinations (n = 290), and 27% for the ↑VEGF-A/↑VEGFR-2 and ↓CD4/↓CD8 combination (n = 26). In multivariate analysis, the coexpression of ↑VEGF-A/↑VEGFR-2 and ↓CD4/↓CD8 was an independent negative prognostic factor (hazard ratio, 9.16; 95% confidence interval, 2.11-39.8; P = .003).
Conclusions: Low tumor cell VEGF-A and VEGFR-2 expression in combination with high adaptive immune cell expression in the tumor-related stroma had a strong and independent favorable prognostic impact in patients with NSCLC.
© 2010 American Cancer Society.