To investigate the immunohistochemical expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and to determine its possible association with tumor differentiation status, optic nerve and/or choroidal invasion, anterior chamber invasion, vitreous seeding, and basophilic staining of the vascular walls.
A retrospective study was performed to identify the expression of VEGF in 47 of 129 consecutive patients with retinoblastoma treated at the Ocular Pathology Laboratory of the Anatomy and Pathology Institute of the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2007.
A positive correlation between VEGF staining intensity and time of progression and mitotic and apoptotic indexes was observed. However, no correlation was found between VEGF expression and other prognostic factors in this malignant neoplasm, including tumor stage as assessed by the Grabowski and Abramson classification.
Although the isolated characterization of VEGF in retinoblastoma is not grounds for this protein to be considered a prognostic factor, its association with mitotic and apoptotic indexes suggests it may play a role in the progression of this disease. Thus, therapeutic targeting of VEGF in retinoblastoma may be an effective strategy to reduce tumor progression.