Background: The aim of the study was to explore the serum levels of eight angiogenesis biomarkers in patients with benign, borderline or malignant epithelial ovarian neoplasms and to compare them to those of healthy controls. In addition, we aimed to study how those biomarkers predict the clinical course and survival of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.
Methods: We enrolled 132 patients with ovarian neoplasms and 32 unaffected women in this study. Serum samples were collected preoperatively at the time of diagnosis and the levels of angiogenesis biomarkers were measured with an ELISA.
Results: Levels of Ang-1, Ang-2, VEGF, VEGF-D, VEGF/sVEGFR-2 and Ang-2/ sVEGFR-2 ratios were elevated whereas sVEGFR-2 was lower in patients with ovarian carcinoma than in women with normal ovaries, benign and/or borderline ovarian neoplasms. In ROC analysis, the area under the curve for serum Ang-2/sVEGFR-2 ratio (0.76) was greater than Ang-2 (0.75) and VEGF (0.65) but lower than for CA 125 (0.90) to differentiate ovarian cancer from benign or borderline ovarian tumors. In ovarian cancer high Ang-2/sVEGFR-2 ratio was associated with the presence of ascites, high stage and grade of ovarian cancer, with the size of primary residual tumor>1 cm and with recurrence of disease. Elevated Ang-2, VEGF, VEGF/sVEGFR-2, Ang-2/VEGF and Ang-2/sVEGFR-2 ratios and low level of sVEGFR-2 were significant predictors of poor overall survival (OS) and recurrence free survival (RFS) in univariate survival analyses.
Conclusions: Ovarian cancer patients had elevated levels of angiogenesis related growth factors in circulation reflecting increased angiogenesis and poor prognosis. The serum level of Ang-2 predicted most accurately poor OS and Ang-2/sVEGFR-2 ratio malignancy of ovarian neoplasms and short RFS.