Association of macrophage infiltration with angiogenesis and prognosis in invasive breast carcinoma.
Leek RD., Lewis CE., Whitehouse R., Greenall M., Clarke J., Harris AL.
Angiogenesis is a key process in tumor growth and metastasis and is a major independent prognostic factor in breast cancer. A range of cytokines stimulate the tumor neovasculature, and tumor-associated macrophages have been shown recently to produce several important angiogenic factors. We have quantified macrophage infiltration using Chalkley count morphometry in a series of invasive breast carcinomas to investigate the relationship between tumor-associated macrophage infiltration and tumor angiogenesis, and prognosis. There was a significant positive correlation between high vascular grade and increased macrophage index (P = 0.03), and a strong relationship was observed between increased macrophage counts and reduced relapse-free survival (P = 0.006) and reduced overall survival (P = 0.004) as an independent prognostic variable. These data indicate a role for macrophages in angiogenesis and prognosis in breast cancer and that this cell type may represent an important target for immunoinhibitory therapy in breast cancer.