Microvessel density in brain tumors

Anticancer Res. Nov-Dec 1997;17(6D):4747-53.


Sections from formalin fixed paraffin embedded tumor tissue from 165 patients with brain tumors including 62 meningiomas, 80 supratentorial astrocytomas (19 astrocytomas-grade I/II, 20 anaplastic astrocytomas-grade III, 41 glioblastomas-grade IV), 7 cerebellar astrocytomas-grade I/II, one gliosarcoma, 7 oligodendrogliomas, 3 ependymomas and 5 medulloblastomas were immunostained for factor VIII-related antigen in order to highlight microvessel endothelial cells. Microvessel count (MVC; the highest number of microvessels in three areas of highest vascular density at X200 magnification) was determined and correlated with histological grade of tumors and patients' sex and age. The mean MVC was 27.9 in meningiomas. Astrocytic tumors, particularly malignant astrocytomas (grade III, IV), were highly vascular. The mean MVC as regards the supratentorial astrocytic neoplasms was 14.5 in astrocytomas (grade I/II), 42.3 in anaplastic astrocytomas (grade III) and 50.2 in glioblastomas (grade IV). All cerebellar astrocytomas studied, even though well differentiated (grade I/II), were highly vascularised tumors (MVC: 41.1. A comparison of the mean MVC vlaues showed that there was a statistically significant difference between supratentorial astrocytomas (Grade I-II) and cerebellar astrocytomas (Grade I-II) (p = 0.0004), anaplastic astrocytomas (Grade I-II) (p = 0.00004) and glioblastomas (p = 0.00001). There was no significant difference between cerebellar astrocytomas and anaplastic astrocytomas (p = 0.8) and glioblastomas (p = 0.4). Astrocytic neoplasms showed statistically significant higher mean MVC from meningiomas (p = 0.002). The mean MVC was 14.1 in oligodendrogliomas, 22.7 in ependymomas and 19.6 in medulloblastomas. In one gliosarcoma that was studied the MVC was 40. The MVC appeared to be independent of the age and sex of patients. This study supports the importance of microvessel density as a measure of angiogenesis, as well as a further morphologic feature in the classification of brain tumors. The determination of microvessel density may become useful in the planning and monitoring of anti-angiogenesis therapies of these tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Astrocytoma / blood supply
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Brain Neoplasms / classification
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Glioma / blood supply*
  • Glioma / classification
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Meningioma / blood supply*
  • Meningioma / pathology
  • Microcirculation / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Oligodendroglioma / blood supply
  • Oligodendroglioma / pathology
  • Sex Factors