OBJECTIVE : To investigate the immunoexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor
(VEGF) in benign and malignant salivary gland tumors (SGT), determining its clinical
and prognostic significance.
MATERIAL AND METHODS : A total of 132 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded SGTs were
organized in tissue microarray blocks and submitted to immunohistochemistry against
VEGF protein. Slides were scanned and immunoreactions analyzed using Pixelcount V9
digital algorithm. Clinical and follow-up data were retrieved from patients’ medical
RESULTS : Tumors included 50 cases of pleomorphic adenoma, 32 mucoepidermoid
carcinomas, 30 adenocarcinomas not otherwise specified and 20 adenoid cystic
carcinomas. A slight male preponderance was found (M:F ratio 1.1:1.0), with a mean age
of 47.5 years. Parotid gland was the most affected location. VEGF expression was found
in the cytoplasm of all cases analyzed with variable intensity, proving to be
overexpressed in malignant tumors if compared to pleomorphic adenoma. A significant
correlation of VEGF reactivity was found only with age, showing no further significant
associations. Age and presence of paresthesia were the only features that predicted an
inferior specific survival rate under uni and multivariate analyses. Log-rank test
evidenced VEGF high expression as a potential determinant of inferior survival, although
a statistical significance could not be reached.
CONCLUSION : Considering VEGF overexpression in malignant tumors and its potential
association with an inferior survival rate, it can be speculated that this protein might be
associated with SGTs pathogenesis and aggressiveness.