Prognostic value of uPAR expression and angiogenesis in primary and metastatic melanoma
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Angiogenesis is important for the progression of cutaneous melanoma. Here, we analyzed the prognostic impact of the angiogenic factor urokinase plasminogen activator resecptor (uPAR), vascular proliferation index (VPI) and tumor necrosis as a measure of hypoxia in a patient series of nodular melanomas (n = 255) and matched loco-regional metastases (n = 78). Expression of uPAR was determined by immunohistochemistry and VPI was assessed by dual immunohistochemistry using Factor-VIII/Ki67 staining. Necrosis was recorded based on HE-slides. As novel findings, high uPAR expression and high VPI were associated with each other, and with increased tumor thickness, presence of tumor necrosis, tumor ulceration, increased mitotic count and reduced cancer specific survival in primary melanoma. In matched cases, VPI was decreased in metastases, whereas the frequency of necrosis was increased. Our findings demonstrate for the first time the impact on melanoma specific survival of uPAR expression and VPI in primary tumors, and of increased necrosis as an indicator of tumor hypoxia in loco-regional metastases. These findings support the importance of tumor angiogenesis in melanoma aggressiveness, and suggest uPAR as an indicator of vascular proliferation and a potential biomarker in melanoma.