Expression of vascular endothelial growth factors VEGF- C and D, VEGFR-3, and comparison of lymphatic vessels density labeled with D2-40 antibodies as a prognostic factors in vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) and invasive vulvar cancer.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare the immunohistochemical expression of vascular endothelial growth factors VEGF-C and D, as well as the expression of VEGFR-3 in VIN and vulvar invasive cancer and to compare the density of lymphatic marker D2-40 antibody in both groups, and to compare them with different clinicopathologic features.

MATERIALS & METHODS: The study was performed using tissue material and clinical data from 100 women diagnosed with VIN and 100 women diagnosed with invasive vulvar cancer.

RESULTS: No significant differences were found in the expression of VEGF-C and -D or VEGFR-3 between those patients with VIN and those with invasive vulvar cancers. Weak expression of VEGF-C was confirmed only in two cases of the analyzed series; in all cases, expression of VEGF-D and VEGFR-3 was observed. The strongest expression of VEGF-D and VEGFR-3 was observed in the group of invasive cancers. The highest density of lymphatic vessels per 2 mm was observed in VIN. In the cancer group, small lymphatic vessels with a narrow oval lumen were observed. Moreover, in two cases of vulvar cancer, the presence of intratumoral lymphatic vessels was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that lymphangiogenesis begins at the preinvasive stage of vulvar carcinogenesis and suggests the important role of VEGF-C, VEGF-D, VEGFR-3 and LV (D2-40) as prognostic factors in the process of carcinogenesis in the vulvar area.

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