Angiogenesis in childhood malignancies

University dissertation from Uppsala : Institutionen för kirurgiska vetenskaper

Abstract: Angiogenesis is necessary for the growth and spread of solid tumors. In these studies angiogenesis was measured in childhood malignancies in general and in Wilms’ tumor in particular, and cutting needle biopsy (CNB) specimens were evaluated for diagnosis in childhood renal tumors. In 33 patients with Wilms’ tumor, tumor capillaries were quantified, expression of angiogenic growth factors in tumor tissue investigated, and concentrations of angiogenic growth factors in serum measured. Reference values for angiogenic growth factors were obtained in 80 healthy adults (fibroblast growth factor 2 [FGF-2], vascular endothelial growth factor A [VEGF-A]) and 94 healthy children (angiogenin [ANG], epidermal growth factor [EGF], FGF-2, hepatocyte growth factor [HGF], tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNFA] and VEGF-A) aged 0.5-18 years. These reference values were compared with values in sera taken at diagnosis in 268 children with tumors and leukemias. CNB specimens were evaluated in 25 children with renal tumors.A large number of capillaries was an independent prognostic factor for a poor outcome in Wilms’ tumor. Angiogenic growth factors were expressed in Wilms’ tumor tissue, and elevated concentrations of HGF and VEGF-A were found in both benign and malignant tumors. HGF was increased in leukemia, and TNFA was increased in leukemia, lymphoma and neuroblastoma. CNB, which proved to be a safe procedure, had a sensitivity of 76%. These studies have demonstrated that quantification of capillaries is a prognostic factor in Wilms’ tumor and that HGF, TNFA and VEGF-A are frequently elevated in sera from children with cancer. Quantification of capillaries in tumor tissue and of circulating angiogenic growth factors would therefore seem to be of clinical relevance in managing children with cancer.