Prognostic value of vascular endothelial growth factor in breast cancer

Giampietro Gasparini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Angiogenesis, the process leading to the formation of new blood vessels from a preexisting vascular network, is necessary for tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis. Data from experimental and clinical studies indicate that breast carcinoma is an angiogenesis-dependent tumor. Most retrospective studies evaluating the prognostic value of determination of intratumoral microvessel density (IMD) at the vascular 'hot spot' (a surrogate marker of angiogenesis) found that IMD is a significant and independent prognostic indicator in patients with both node-negative and node-positive breast cancers. More recently, the expression of certain endothelial growth factors has been tested. Among these, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the most potent endothelial cell mitogen and also a regulator of vascular permeability, is emerging as a powerful new prognostic tool. Eight of the nine published retrospective studies reported that VEGF is significantly associated with relapse-free survival, overall survival, or both. Patients with early stage breast cancer who have tumors with elevated levels of VEGF have a higher likelihood of recurrence or death than patients with low- angiogenic tumors, even if treated with conventional adjuvant therapy. High levels of VEGF can differentiate the subgroups of patients with breast cancer with poor prognosis who benefit minimally from conventional adjuvant therapy but who may benefit from validated anti-VEGF treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalThe oncologist
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2000



  • Angiogenesis
  • Breast cancer
  • Prognosis
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology

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