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VEGF-A, VEGF-C, VEGF-R2, EGFR and HER2 in serum plus EGFR in tissue of patients with triple-negative breast cancer


Triple-negative breast cancer (ER–PR–HER2-negative) is not very common, has very poor prognosis and its therapeutic approach is a problem. This cancer type overexpresses EGFR in tissue. Elevated VEGF-C levels may be a predictor of lymph node metastases. VEGF-R2 plays an important role in tumor angiogenesis. We measured VEGF-C, VEGF-R2, EGFR, VEGF-A and HER2 in serum and EGFR in tissue. We compared all these parameters to find correlations between them.

Patients and methods

Seventy-three patients with triple-negative breast cancer were enrolled in this study. All patients had chemotherapy and radiotherapy after the surgical treatment. All of the parameters were measured in serum by ELISA.


VEGF-C, VEGF-A, VEGF-R2 and HER2 in serum were measured in 73 patients. From our results, serum VEGF-C was overexpressed in 77% (11,393 ± 2,160 pg/ml, normal values: 2,459 to 6,651). Serum VEGF-R2 was overexpressed in the same patients (8,948 ± 1,234 pg/ml, normal values: 2,000 to 6,000). Serum VEGF-A was overexpressed in four patients but we found that they had extremely elevated levels of all of the VEGF agents. EGFR was measured in 54 patients who do not have any recurrence of the disease. It was overexpressed in 21/54 (>0.13 fmol/ml). In those patients, EGFR was also overexpressed in tissue (57%). We found also that in patients with overexpression of both serum and tissue EGFR, VEGF-C was not overexpressed but VEGF-R2 was overexpressed. Serum HER2 was overexpressed in eight patients. In those patients, serum and tissue EGFR (HER1) was also overexpressed.


We found interesting correlations between these factors. VEGF-C and VEGF-R2 have significant correlation. On the contrary, patients with overexpression of serum and tissue EGFR and VEGF-R2 do not overexpress VEGF-C. We need more patients to evaluate these results as they can help in the search for anti-angiogenic therapies.

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Iosifidou, R., Galaktidou, G., Ananiadis, A. et al. VEGF-A, VEGF-C, VEGF-R2, EGFR and HER2 in serum plus EGFR in tissue of patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res 11 (Suppl 1), P13 (2009).

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