Background and purpose: This study investigated the prognostic value of tumor cell expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor fms-related tyrosine kinase 1 (FLT-1) in patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) who had been treated with adjuvant radiotherapy or radiochemotherapy. Material and methods: The impact of tumor cell VEGF and FLT-1 expression plus 11 additional factors on loco-regional control (LRC), metastases-free survival (MFS) and overall survival (OS) was retrospectively evaluated in 157 patients. The additional factors were age, gender, performance status, pre-radiotherapy (pre-RT) hemoglobin levels, tumor site, histologic grade, T-category, N-category, human papillomavirus (HPV) status, extent of resection and chemotherapy. Results: On multivariate analysis, improved LRC was significantly associated with an absence of VEGF expression (risk ratio, RR: 5.02; p = 0.009), lower T-category (RR: 2.00; p < 0.001), lower N-category (RR: 3.75; p < 0.001) and pre-RT hemoglobin levels ≥ 12 g/dl (RR: 2.20; p = 0.029). Improved MFS was significantly associated with an absence of VEGF expression (RR: 7.46; p = 0.002), lower T-category (RR: 1.97; p = 0.002), lower N-category (RR: 3.29; p = 0.005) and a favorable tumor location (RR: 1.34; p = 0.033); HPV positivity showed a trend towards improved MFS (RR: 1.43; p = 0.09). Improved OS was significantly associated with an absence of VEFG expression (RR: 3.22; p = 0.041), pre-RT hemoglobin levels ≥ 12 g/dl (RR: 2.47; p = 0.009), lower T-category (RR: 1.92; p < 0.001) and lower N-category (RR: 3.39; p < 0.001). FLT-1 expression was significantly associated with LRC and OS in the univariate but not in the multivariate analysis. Conclusion: VEGF expression proved to be an independent negative predictor for LRC, MFS and OS in patients treated for locally advanced SCCHN with adjuvant radiotherapy or radiochemotherapy. FLT-1 expression was not significant in multivariate analyses.
- Growth factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging