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Aims—Angiogenesis, an important prognostic factor in several tumours, is a complex event mediated by angiogenic factors released from cancer cells and host immune cells. Among the host immune cells, a role has been implicated for mast cells in tumour progression via promoting angiogenesis. Data have been recorded that indicate a correlation between intratumoral neovascularisation, as assessed by microvessel density (MVD), and prognosis in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the oesophagus. However, a correlation between mast cell density (MCD) and either prognosis or angiogenesis has not been delineated yet in this disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of MVD and MCD in SCC of the oesophagus. The correlation between MVD and MCD was also evaluated.
Methods—MVD and MCD were investigated in tumour specimens from 53 patients diagnosed with SCC of the oesophagus. Intratumoral microvessels were stained with anti-CD34 antibody and mast cells with toluidine blue before being measured by light microscopy.
Results—Both MVD and MCD were associated with the depth of wall invasion, lymph node metastasis, and tumour progression (stage). A significant correlation was noted between MVD and MCD values (r = 0.72). The prognosis was significantly worse in patients with high MVD (≥ 92) and high MCD (≥ 18) values. Multivariate analysis indicated that MVD and stage were independent predictors of survival.
Conclusions—These findings support the suggestion that MVD is a reliable prognostic marker in SCC of the oesophagus. Moreover, MCD may have a role in the angiogenesis of these tumours and might be responsible for their aggressive behaviour.
Key Words: microvessel density • mast cell • prognosis • oesophagus • squamous cell carcinoma • angiogenesis