BACKGROUND. Craniopharyngiomas are histologically benign epithelial neoplasms of the sellar region that often exhibit aggressive and invasive growth. The authors hypothesized that tumor proliferation, spread, and recurrence are angiogenesis dependent and investigated the significance of vascularization relative to biologic behavior. To the authors' knowledge, angiogenesis for patients with craniopharyngiomas has not been examined to date. METHODS. The authors measured microvessel densities in resected, histologically proven craniopharyngiomas using immunostains for CD-34, a monoclonal antibody that selectively recognizes endothelial cells. Both histologic types of craniopharyngiomas, adamantinomatous and papillary, were included in the study. In addition, the cellular distribution of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a strong stimulator of new vessel formation, was assessed by both immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization for VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) mRNA expression. RESULTS. Histologically, small numbers of capillaries were identified in temporal stroma but not in their epithelial components. Immunohistochemistry revealed strong, conclusive cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for VEGF in the epithelial cells of both adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas and papillary craniopharyngiomas. In situ hybridization showed that VEGFR-2 mRNA was expressed widely, not only in neoplastic epithelium but also in capillary endothelium. CONCLUSIONS. Tumors with greater microvessel density regrow more frequently compared with tumors that have lower microvessel density, suggesting that the extent of angiogenesis is of prognostic value in patients with craniopharyngioma. VEGFR-2 may act as a key modulator of VEGF activity in endothelial cells and nonendothelial cells, indicating that VEGF plays an important role in the behavior of craniopharyngiomas.
- In situ hybridization
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
- Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research