Vascularization and expression of hypoxia-related tissue factors in intracranial ependymoma and their impact on patient survival.
Preusser M., Wolfsberger S., Haberler C., Breitschopf H., Czech T., Slavc I., Harris AL., Acker T., Budka H., Hainfellner JA.
We investigated angiogenic patterns and expression of hypoxia-related tissue factors and their prognostic impact in 100 cases of intracranial ependymoma. Angiogenic patterns were evaluated by anti-CD34 immunolabeling. Hypoxia-related factors carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1alpha) were visualized by immunohistochemistry, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA by in situ hybridization. Expression patterns of VEGF and CA9 are similar with regard to distribution (perinecrotic) and extent. HIF-1alpha expression occurs in a significantly smaller fraction of cases and only in a few tumor cells without clear association with necrosis. Expression of VEGF and CA9, but not HIF-1alpha, is associated with a bizarre angiogenic subtype. Combined expression of two or three hypoxia markers (high hypoxia score) associates with presence of necrosis, high proliferation index, bizarre vascular pattern, and increased cellularity. Univariate analysis indicated that patients with high hypoxia score had significantly shorter survival. On multivariate analysis, only proliferation index and extent of resection remained independent predictive factors. We conclude that bizarre vascular pattern, necrosis and high hypoxia score are frequently detectable in intracranial ependymoma, but seem less important for patient outcome than tumor cell proliferation.