Objective: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/vascular permeability factor (VPF) is a potent angiogenic growth factor implicated in the tumor angiogenesis/metastasis of a number of human cancers. Activation of receptors for VEGF/VPF is specifically mitogenic to endothelial cells and increases their permeability. Although extensive literature exists regarding VEGF/VPF in human astrocytomas, little is known about its potential biological role(s) in meningiomas. Our interest in meningiomas was initiated by the observation that some meningiomas are extremely vascular and are occasionally associated with a considerable degree of peritumoral brain edema, both potentially related to the biological attributes of VEGF/VPF.
Methods: As a first test of this hypothesis, we examined a cohort of 18 meningiomas for expression of VEGF/VPF at the messenger ribonucleic acid and protein levels and correlated expression with pathological characteristics, vascularity, and degree of peritumoral edema.
Results: The majority of meningiomas expressed VEGF/VPF at both the messenger ribonucleic acid and protein levels. Corresponding serial sections were stained with an endothelial cell marker to obtain a microvascular density count, which positively correlated (P = 0.0005) with expression of VEGF/VPF. Furthermore, meningiomas with a large amount of peritumoral edema, as determined from the preoperative computed tomographic scans or magnetic resonance imaging scans, had elevated expression of VEGF/VPF (P = 0.05).
Conclusion: These data suggest that VEGF/VPF may play a role in both meningioma vascularity and peritumoral edema.