Determination of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) overexpression in soft tissue sarcomas and the role of overexpression in leiomyosarcoma

Anil Potti, Apar Kishor Ganti, Ketki Tendulkar, Kaley Sholes, Sidharth Chitajallu, Michael Koch, Steven Kargas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence and role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) overexpression in soft tissue sarcoma (STS). Patients and methods: VEGF expression was detected by the avidin-biotin-complex method using Santa Cruz biotechnology (SC 7629). The expression of VEGF was assessed according to the percentage of immunoreactive cells: more than 10% of the cells staining were graded as positive. No detectable staining or < 10% (of cells) staining was graded as negative. Results: Two hundred and seventy-three patients (164 females and 109 males) with a mean age of 56 years (range: 1-93 years) were included in the study. Sixty-eight of the 273 (24.91%) patients diagnosed with STS between 1986 and 2001 revealed VEGF overexpression. VEGF overexpression was predominantly seen in 30% (15/50) of patients with malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH), 20.45% (9/44) of dermatofibrosarcomas (DFS), 25% (9/36) of leiomyosarcomas (LMS), and 30% (6/20) of patients with carcinosarcomas (CS). Despite overexpression being seen in about a quarter of patients with STS, VEGF overexpression was of prognostic value in only those patients with the LMS histologic type, as VEGF overexpression was associated with a shorter survival in this subgroup (P = 0.01, by log-rank sum test). Conclusion: Twenty-four point nine per cent of STS overexpress VEGF and interestingly there is diversity seen in VEGF expression amongst the various histologic subtypes of STS. LMS, CS, and MFH are more likely to reveal overexpression of VEGF than the other histologic subtypes. There was no relationship between survival and VEGF status in any subtype of STS, except LMS. There is an urgent need for larger studies to validate our findings. In addition, randomized clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of angiogenesis inhibitors in soft tissue sarcomas, especially LMS, are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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