Haemangiomas are vascular tumours characterized by rapid growth and increased endothelial turnover. VE-cadherin is a recently discovered endothelial cell-specific cadherin located at intercellular junctions. In different types of epithelial tumours, cadherin expression is inversely correlated with invasiveness and metastatic dissemination. In this immunohistochemical study, VE-cadherin expression has been analysed in different types of haemangioma. VE-cadherin is highly expressed in endothelial cells of haemangiomas and is decreased, but still detectable, in some cases of haemangionendothelioma and angionsarcoma. The antigenic profile of most haemangioma cells was similar to that of normal endothelium. CD31, CD34, ICAM-1, von Willebrand factor, and VLA integrins were expressed in haemangioma endothelium; in addition, the major components of vascular basement membrane, namely fibronectin, collagen type IV, and laminin, were correctly expressed and organized. Surprisingly, a marked reactivity for the M form of laminin (merosin) was detected in the basement membranes of two juvenile capillary haemangiomas. Overall, this study shows that, with the exception of angiosarcoma and haemangionendothelioma, vascular tumours maintain most of the differentiation characteristics of normal endothelium. This encourages speculation that in these pathologies, abnormal endothelial proliferation is more related to the release of local factors than to an altered endothelial phenotype.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine