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Serum vascular endothelial growth factor as a tumour marker in soft tissue sarcoma. BJS 2004; 91: 242-247.

Published: 24th November 2003

Authors: A. J. Hayes, A. Mostyn‐Jones, M. U. Koban, R. A'Hern, P. Burton, J. M. Thomas et al.

Background

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent tumour‐produced angiogenic factor. In this study serum levels of VEGF were measured before treatment and during follow‐up in patients undergoing primary treatment for suspected soft tissue sarcoma (STS) to assess the value of serum VEGF as a tumour marker.

Method

Between April 2001 and September 2002, serum VEGF levels were analysed prospectively in 144 patients undergoing primary treatment (surgery, 123; cytotoxic chemotherapy, ten; oral imatinib, eight; radiotherapy, three) for suspected soft tissue sarcoma. Serum VEGF was measured by immunoassay before treatment, in the immediate postoperative interval in patients undergoing surgery, and during follow‐up. Serum VEGF concentrations were also measured in 15 healthy volunteers.

Results

Median pretreatment serum VEGF levels were significantly raised in patients with grade 2 and grade 3 sarcomas compared with concentrations in patients with benign lesions (413 and 467 versus 233 pg/ml respectively; P = 0·007 and P = 0·003 respectively). In patients with tumours that had a high level of VEGF expression before treatment, follow‐up measurements reflected disease status after treatment.

Conclusion

Serum VEGF expression correlated with grade in soft tissue sarcoma and reflected response to treatment. Copyright © 2003 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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