Clinical relevance of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors 1 and 2 in acute myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome

Srdan Verstovsek, Elihu Estey, Taghi Manshouri, Francis J. Giles, Jorge Cortes, Miloslav Beran, Anna Rogers, Michael Keating, Hagop Kantarjian, Maher Albitar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We have previously reported that high levels of cellular vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein correlated with short survival of patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). As VEGF exerts its effects via two receptors, VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR-1) and VEGFR-2, we evaluated the significance of VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 protein levels in AML and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and their relationship to VEGF protein levels. Western blot analysis and radioimmunoassay confirmed and quantified specific protein levels in bone marrow samples from 41 MDS and 66 AML previously untreated patients. VEGFR-1 levels were significantly higher in AML than in MDS (P = 0.0004), but no significant difference was found in the VEGFR-2 levels (P = 0.5). No significant correlation between VEGFRs levels and duration of survival was found. VEGF protein levels were significantly higher in MDS than in AML (P < 0.0001). A Cox proportional-hazard regression model showed increasing VEGF levels to significantly correlate with shorter survival of patients with MDS (P = 0.008), a finding similar to our previous report of the inverse relationship between VEGF levels and survival of AML patients. We found a significant correlation between VEGF and VEGFR-2 levels in both AML and MDS (P < 0.0000001 and P < 0.0002 respectively) but not between VEGF and VEGFR-1 levels. These data suggest that VEGF expression, rather than the expression of its receptors, is the determining factor in the biological behaviour of AML and MDS, and that VEGFRs are differentially expressed in AML and MDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • AML
  • MDS
  • Prognosis
  • VEGF
  • VEGF receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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