Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is known to play a key role in tumor angiogenesis. The tumor-suppressor gene p53 has been thought to regulate VEGF. We investigated the effect of VEGF on esophageal carcinoma and the correlation between VEGF and p53. Tissue samples were taken from 81 patients with esophageal carcinoma after surgery. VEGF and p53 expressions were examined by immunohistochemical staining. Microvessels in the tumor stained for CD34 antigen were also counted. VEGF and p53 expressions were observed in 51.3% (41/80) and 51.9% (41/79), respectively. The microvessel density was 70.9+/-6.7 (mean+/-SE) in VEGF-positive group and 68.7+/-5.1 in VEGF-negative group. However, no correlation was noted between VEGF and p53 expression. Whereas the tumor size, nodal status, depth of invasions, and tumor stage were associated with poor overall survival, VEGF expression or p53 expression was not. These results indicate that VEGF and p53 are highly expressed in esophageal carcinomas. Since the VEGF expression is not correlated with the p53 expression, microvessel density or clinicopathological findings, further studies with other angiogenic molecules are needed to determine the role in esophageal carcinomas
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