Increased numbers of blood vessels (angiogenesis or neovascularization) in certain primary tumors correlates with an increased risk for metastatic disease. We therefore conducted a blinded review of the resected testicular germ cell tumors of 65 clinical stage A patients to evaluate the usefulness of angiogenesis in identifying those patients with clinically occult nodal metastases (pathological stage B).

Angiogenesis was assessed in the primary tumors using an immunohistochemical stain for factor VIII-related antigen assay for quantitation of microvessel counts. Of 65 clinical stage A patients, 43 had pathological stage B disease at retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. Eleven patients had microvessel counts >30 microvessels/×400 high powered field, and all of these patients had pathological stage B disease (P = 0.02 in univariate analysis). Multiple regression analysis using microvessel count and other histological findings found to be prognostic (venous invasion, lymphatic invasion, presence of embryonal carcinoma, and absence of yolk sac tumor) showed that only the absence of a yolk sac tumor component was significantly predictive of occult metastases.

This study shows that angiogenesis, as measured by quantitation of microvessel counts in the primary tumor of germ cell neoplasms, is significantly predictive of occult nodal metastatic disease by univariate analysis in clinical stage A patients. The prospective use of angiogenesis quantitation needs to be defined.


Supported in part by a grant from the Walther Medical Foundation, a Veterans Affairs Merit Review Award (G. S), and National Cancer Institute Grant CA 39844-08.

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