Lymphovascular invasion in breast cancer: improved methods of detection and clinical significance
© BioMed Central Ltd 2008
Published: 13 May 2008
The presence of vascular invasion (VI), encompassing both lymphovascular invasion (LVI) and blood vascular invasion (BVI), in breast cancer has been found to be a poor prognostic factor. It is not clear, however, which type plays the major role in metastasis.
To distinguish between LVI and BVI, sections from 177 consecutive paraffin-embedded specimens of primary breast cancers, with known long-term follow-up, were immunohistochemically stained with two blood vascular markers (CD34 and CD31) and with a lymphatic marker (podoplanin/D2-40). BVI and LVI were identified and the results correlated with clinicopathological criteria and patient survival.
VI was detected in 56/177 specimens (32%); 54 (96%) were LVI and two (4%) were BVI. The presence of LVI was significantly associated with the presence of LN metastasis, development of distant metastasis, regional recurrence, and a worse disease-free interval and overall survival. In multivariate analysis, LVI retained a significant association with decreased disease-free interval and overall survival. When assessment of LVI using H&E was compared using the lymphatic marker, VI was missed in 30/177 (16.9%) and was falsely positive in 12/177 (6.8%) using H&E.
VI in breast cancer is predominantly of lymph vessels and is a powerful independent prognostic factor. The use of immunohistochemical staining with podoplanin/D2-40 increases the accuracy of identification.