Affiliations: Institute of Pathological Anatomy and Histopathology, University of Ancona School of Medicine, Ospedale Regionale, I-60020 Torrette, Ancona, Italy
Abstract: The aim of the study was to investigate immunohistochemically the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its correlation with the pattern of capillary architecture in prostate cancer and high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), in untreated and androgen-ablated patients. Forty-five patients who underwent radical prostatectomy (RP) for localized prostate carcinoma were recruited for this study. The study population included 2 groups: 35 patients who did not receive chemo-, hormone or radiation therapy before surgery, and 10 patients who were under complete androgen blockade (CAB) for three months at the time of operation. VEGF was examined by immunohistochemistry and its tissue expression was compared with the pattern of capillary architecture evaluated by immunostaining the endothelial antigen CD34. The relationship of VEGF expression to chromogranin A positive (e.g., neuroendocrine) cells was investigated. Significant levels of VEGF are present in prostate cancer and in a population of PIN lesions, the expression being highest in association with NE cells and correlated with an altered pattern of vascularization. The VEGF expression is downregulated by hormonal manipulation, except in the population of NE cells. All this indicates that VEGF may contribute to the establishment, progression and regression of prostate neoplasia.