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Expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and VEGF Receptor Flk-1 in Benign, Premalignant, and Malignant Prostate Tissue

Jens Köllermann MD, Burkhard Helpap MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/1LBM-6X32-JH6W-ENUD 115-121 First published online: 1 July 2001

Abstract

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the most potent mitogenic, highly specific tumor angiogenic factors, which acts via binding to 2 specific tyrosine kinase receptors. There are few studies analyzing VEGF receptor expression in prostate cancer cells, and results are contradictory. In an immunohistochemical study, we analyzed VEGF and VEGF receptor fetal liver kinase (Flk)-1 expression in benign glands, high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), and prostatic carcinomas of different Gleason scores, obtained from 21 radical prostatectomy specimens. In all benign glands, VEGF and Flk-1 expression was confined almost exclusively to the basal cell layer (proliferative cell compartment). In HGPIN, labeling was no longer confined to the basal cell layer, but also was seen in all neoplastic secretory cells. All carcinomas stained positive for both markers. There was a trend for increasing labeling intensity with increasing cellular dedifferentiation. We concluded that tumor growth stimulated by the VEGF-Flk-1 system is promoted not only by neoangiogenesis, but also by tumor cell autostimulation. The VEGF-Flk-1 system may have an important role in the process of malignant transformation and tumor progression.

Key Words:
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor
  • VEGF receptor Flk-1
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Prostate carcinoma
  • Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia
  • Basal cells