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May 1997

Vessel Counts and Expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor as Prognostic Factors in Node-Negative Colon Cancer

Arch Surg. 1997;132(5):541-546. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430290087018

Background:  The value of these prognostic factors was compared with that of other clinicopathologic factors such as tumor grade, tumor stage, mucin production, vascular invasion, perineural invasion, and lymphatic invasion.

Objective:  To determine whether the development of distant recurrence in patients with node-negative colon cancer could be predicted using vessel count and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression.

Design:  Paraffin-embedded colon cancers were immunostained for factor VIII, VEGF, basic fibroblast growth factor, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen; slides were reviewed for differentiation, mucin production, and the presence of vascular, lymphatic, and/or perineural invasion.

Setting:  A large academic cancer referral center where 27 patients with node-negative colon cancer were operated on during 1988 and 1989.

Main Outcome Measure:  The development of and interval to recurrence.

Results:  Eight patients developed liver, lung, or lymph node metastases at a median of 24 months. The median follow-up for patients without cancer recurrence was 60 months. The mean tumor vessel count for those patients who remained disease-free was significantly fewer than for those patients who suffered a recurrence (20 vs 33, respectively). By univariate analysis, 3 factors—perineural invasion, vessel count, and VEGF expression—were correlated with time to recurrence. By multivariate analysis, only vessel count was significantly related to differences in time to recurrence. Expression of VEGF correlated with vessel count.

Conclusion:  Vessel count and expression of VEGF may be useful for predicting distant recurrence in patients with node-negative colon cancer.Arch Surg. 1997;132:541-546