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21.06.2017 | Original Article – Cancer Research | Ausgabe 10/2017

Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology 10/2017

Tumor vascularization and clinicopathologic parameters as prognostic factors in merkel cell carcinoma

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology > Ausgabe 10/2017
Autoren:
A. Bob, F. Nielen, J. Krediet, J. Schmitter, D. Freundt, D. Terhorst, J. Röwert-Huber, J. Kanitakis, E. Stockfleth, Ch. Ulrich, M. Weichenthal, F. Egberts, B. Lange-Asschenfeldt
Wichtige Hinweise
A. Bob, F. Nielen, F. Egberts, and B. Lange-Asschenfeldt contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Purpose

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare but aggressive neuroendocrine tumor of the skin with an increasing incidence. The clinical course is variable and reliable prognostic factors are scarce. Tumor angiogenesis has been shown to have prognostic impact in different types of cancer. The aim of our study was to determine potential prognostic factors, including tumor vascularization, for clinical outcome of MCC.

Methods

The medical records of 46 patients with MCC diagnosed between 1997 and 2010 were analyzed retrospectively. Tissue samples were immune-stained for the lymphatic endothelial vessel marker podoplanin/D2-40 and the panvascular marker CD31. These immunostained sections were analyzed using computer-assisted morphometric image analyses. Aside from the parameters of tumor vascularization, clinicopathologic features were investigated, and progression-free survival (PFS) and tumor-specific survival (TSS) were assessed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine prognostic factors.

Results

Male sex of the MCC patients and a high cross-sectional whole vessel area (WVA) in relation to the entire tumor area as determined on CD31-stained tumor sections were found to be negative prognostic factors for PFS in a univariate and multivariate regression analysis. Ulceration of the primary tumor was significantly associated with both impaired PFS and TSS.

Conclusions

Our results indicate a high prognostic impact of tumor vascularization on the clinical outcome of MCC patients. Male sex and ulceration of the primary MCC were identified as independent unfavorable prognostic markers for the clinical outcome. As an outlook, MCC patients with increased angiogenesis might be identified and subjected to a targeted anti-angiogenic treatment.

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