Clinical prognostic significance of tumour angiogenesis.
Craft PS., Harris AL.
BACKGROUND: The importance of tumour angiogenesis in the process of tumour growth and metastasis has recently gained wide acceptance. This has lead to intense investigation into the biology of tumour angiogenesis and its clinical significance. An understanding of angiogenesis may allow therapeutic modulation in order to interrupt the progression from tumourigenesis to metastatic disease and control growth of distant metastases. DESIGN: A review was undertaken of studies relating clinical outcome to the assessment of tumour angiogenesis in patients with cancer. RESULTS: Studies have been recently reported in a variety of tumours, particularly early breast cancer and melanoma. Quantitative pathology, using microvessel counting, has been the main method applied. However assessment of angiogenic growth factors may provide an alternative. In early breast cancer many studies have shown a worse prognosis for those patients with highly vascular tumours. The prognostic influence of tumour angiogenesis is independent of conventional prognostic indicators. Similar, although more varied results, have been obtained in studies of melanoma and other tumour types. CONCLUSION: Tumour angiogenesis, as assessed with quantitative pathology, is an important prognostic indicator in early breast cancer and possibly in other tumour types. Further confirmatory studies are required before this indicator is routinely used to guide treatment selection. Assessment of tumour angiogenesis will be increasingly important in the investigation of new therapies aimed at inhibiting angiogenesis or targeting tumour vasculature.