Introduction Intra-tumour microvessel density (IMD), a marker of tumour angiogenesis, correlates with metastasis and poor prognosis in many cancers. In oesophagogastric cancer however, the prognostic significance of IMD assessment remains incompletely investigated.
Methods Patients undergoing surgery with curative intent, without pre-operative chemotherapy, were prospectively recruited between February 1999 and August 2000. Immunocytochemical staining of tumour microvessels was undertaken using anti-CD34 (QBEND 10 clone) antibodies. IMD (microvessels per mm2) was assessed using a validated “hot-spot” technique. Patients were followed-up over a 10-year period using the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry. The relationship between IMD and standard clinicopathological variables was assessed using the Mann–Whitney U test. Univariate survival analysis was calculated using a Cox's proportional hazard model while survival analysis was calculated using Kaplan–Meier estimation and log rank.
Results 61 patients were recruited (male=45) with a median age of 66.0 years (range 39–83). The overall 10-year survival rate was 19.7% (n=12). IMD was significantly higher in males compared to females (332.93 vs 252.44, p=0.04) and adenocarcinomas compared to squamous cell carcinomas (356.10 vs 203.66, p<0.001). On univariate survival analysis only lymphovascular invasion predicted poor prognosis (HR 2.26, 95% CI 1.01 to 5.07, p=0.05). Kaplan–Meier survival analysis demonstrated no difference in long-term survival for patients with IMD levels greater or less than the median value (738 days vs 882 days, p=0.67).
Conclusion Immunocytochemical analysis of IMD does not have a prognostic benefit in determining long-term survival in patients with oesophagogastric cancer.
Competing interests None declared.
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