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Prognostic significance of vascular endothelial growth factor expression in ovarian cancer patients: a long-term follow-up
  1. C. Rudlowski*,
  2. A.-K. Pickart§,
  3. C. Fuhljahn§,
  4. T. Friepoertner§,
  5. B. Schlehe,
  6. S. Biesterfeld and
  7. W. Schroeder,§
  1. * Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital, Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  2. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany
  3. University Hospital, Aachen, Germany
  4. § Central Hospital, Bremen, Germany
  5. Institute of Pathology, University Hospital, Mainz, Germany
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Christian Rudlowski, MD, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital, Vosstr.7, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany. Email: rudlowski{at}


The purpose of the study was to determine vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) concentrations in ascites from ovarian cancer and to correlate these data with VEGF expression in ovarian tumors, serum VEGF concentrations, and clinicopathologic characteristics. Ascites, serum, and tumor tissue from 65 ovarian carcinomas and eight borderline tumors were collected. VEGF concentration in peritoneal fluids and sera was determined using enzyme immunoassay. VEGF tumor expression was evaluated immunohistochemically. Significantly higher VEGF concentrations were found in ascites from malignant tumors (median, 2575 pg mL−1) compared with borderline tumors (median 181.9 pg mL−1) and benign peritoneal fluid (184.5 pg mL−1). Both VEGF ascites concentration and tumor expression correlated with advanced tumor stages and ascites volume. Elevated VEGF ascites levels were negatively correlated to patient survival. No differences between VEGF serum levels could be observed between ovarian cancer patients and patients with benign cysts. This study showed for the first time the clinical significance of elevated VEGF ascites level in ovarian carcinomas. VEGF is expressed by ovarian tumor cells and locally released in the malignant peritoneal fluid but is not increased in the serum of preoperative ovarian cancer patients. The enhanced VEGF level support novel therapeutic perspectives by VEGF inhibition.

  • ascites
  • ovarian cancer
  • VEGF

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