The role of vascularity as a predictor of the likelihood of lymph node metastases in oral cancer is not clear. To that end, the vascularity and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was assessed at three specific regions: the tumour (inside and around the tumour); the resection margin; and the regional lymph nodes. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens from 26 oral cancers (11 with no involved nodes and 15 with involved nodes) were stained immunohistochemically and examined. Staining for VEFG was significantly greater in the tumour than in the other sites. No significant differences were found in the intensity of staining in the primary tumour, resection margins, or nodes between cases in which the nodes were involved and in which they were not involved. We found no correlation between vascularity and VEGF staining, suggesting that VEGF is not the primary or only stimulator of angiogenesis in oral cancer. Greater understanding of the mechanisms of metastasis will lead to new treatments. The evidence that is accumulating for oral cancer suggests that such treatments may be better targeted at preventing lymphatic spread, rather than vascular spread.
- Oral cancer
- Prognostic markers