Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1999; 23(2):137-146.

Neoangiogenesis and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Tongue

Shiva S. Forootan, M.D.,a Andrew S. Jones, M.D.,b and Timothy R. Helliwell, M.D.a

Departments of a Pathology and b Otolaryngology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: T. R. Helliwell, MD, Department of Pathology, University of Liverpool, The Duncan Bldg., Daulby St., Liverpool, L69 3GA, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: The relationship between neoangiogenesis and prognosis was investigated in 51 patients with surgically resected squamous carcinomas of the tongue. Twenty-six patients had lymph node metastases treated by radical neck dissection. Potential methodological sources of variation in vascular counts were examined. Vessels were immunolabeled for CD34, and the vessel counts (VC)-as well as the vessel counts adjusted for tumor area (VV)-were obtained in the most vascular parts of the carcinomas. Vascular hot spots were distributed throughout the carcinomas. The VC per hot spot increased with increasing size of carcinoma, and was higher in the resected carcinoma than in the diagnostic biopsy in four of eight cases. VC was not related to the growth pattern of the carcinoma or to metastasis, but patients with nodal metastases tended to have a lower VV than those with no metastases (p = 0.049). The tumor-specific survival of the whole group was 59%, and patients with nodal metastases had a shorter survival than those without metastases (p = 0.008). Cox's proportional hazards model demonstrated that carcinomas with a low VC tended to have a good prognosis (p = 0.023). The results from this relatively small series of cases support the hypothesis that some measures of neoangiogenesis are independent predictors of the spread and prognosis of lingual carcinomas. The variations in methodology among different studies currently preclude an accurate assessment of the prognostic significance of neoangiogenesis.

KEY WORDS: angiogenesis, metastatic risk, morphometry, prognosis, squamous carcinoma, tongue.

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