VEGF, PF4 and PDGF are elevated in platelets of colorectal cancer patients

Angiogenesis. 2012 Jun;15(2):265-73. doi: 10.1007/s10456-012-9259-z. Epub 2012 Mar 9.


Platelets sequester angiogenesis regulatory proteins which suggests an avenue for developing biomarkers to monitor disease. We describe a comparison of angiogenesis regulatory proteins found in platelets of colorectal cancer patients and normal controls. Platelet and plasma content of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), platelet factor 4 (PF4), thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) and endostatin in 35 patients with colon cancer were compared with 84 age-matched healthy controls using ELISAs. We standardized the platelet preparation procedure, introduced process controls and normalized the respective protein levels to platelet numbers using an actin ELISA. Statistically significant differences were found in the median levels of VEGF, PF4 and PDGF in platelets of patients with cancer compared to healthy individuals. Platelet concentrations in cancer patients versus controls were: VEGF 1.3 versus 0.6 pg/10(6), PF4 18.5 versus 9.4 ng/10(6), and PDGF 34.1 versus 21.0 pg/10(6). Multivariable logistic regression analysis indicated that PDGF, PF4 and VEGF were independent predictors of colorectal carcinoma and as a set provided statistically significant discrimination (area under the curve = 0.893, P < .0001). No significant differences were detected for bFGF, endostatin, or TSP-1. Reference Change Value analysis determined that the differences seen were not clinically significant. Plasma levels yielded no correlations.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / blood*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Platelet Factor 4 / blood*
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Thrombospondin 1 / blood
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood*


  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Thrombospondin 1
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Platelet Factor 4