Prognostic value of microvessel density in stage II and III colon cancer patients: A retrospective cohort study

Sjoerd H. den Uil, Evert van den Broek, Veerle M. H. Coupé, Thomas T. Vellinga, Pien M. Delis-van Diemen, Herman Bril, Eric J. Th. Belt, Onno Kranenburg, Hein B. A. C. Stockmann, Jeroen A. M. Belien, Gerrit A. Meijer, Remond J. A. Fijneman

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Background: Microvessel density (MVD), as a derived marker for angiogenesis, has been associated with poor outcome in several types of cancer. This study aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of MVD in stage II and III colon cancer and its relation to tumour-stroma-percentage (TSP) and expression of HIF1A and VEGFA. Methods: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) colon cancer tissues were collected from 53 stage II and 54 (5-fluorouracil-treated) stage III patients. MVD was scored by digital morphometric analysis of CD31-stained whole tumour sections. TSP was scored using haematoxylin-eosin stained slides. Protein expression of HIF1A and VEGFA was determined by immunohistochemical evaluation of tissue microarrays. Results: Median MVD was higher in stage III compared to stage II colon cancers (11.1% versus 5.6% CD31-positive tissue area, p < 0.001). High MVD in stage II patients tended to be associated with poor disease free survival (DFS) in univariate analysis (p = 0.056). In contrast, high MVD in 5FU-treated stage III patients was associated with better DFS (p = 0.006). Prognostic value for MVD was observed in multivariate analyses for both cancer stages. Conclusions: MVD is an independent prognostic factor associated with poor DFS in stage II colon cancer patients, and with better DFS in stage III colon cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
JournalBMC gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2019


  • Angiogenesis
  • Colon cancer
  • Microvessel density
  • Prognosis

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