• Angiogenesis;
  • CD31 stains;
  • head and neck cancer;
  • microvessel density;
  • squamous cell carcinoma;
  • tumors


Objective: Our objective was to assess angiogenesis in head and neck squamous cell primary tumors and measure its correlation with tumor site and clinical and pathologic staging parameters.

Study Design: Patients from the tumor registries of the University of Louisville and affiliated hospitals who had biopsy-proven head and neck squamous cell carcinoma were retrospectively assessed over a 5-year period (1995–2000).

Methods: Patient records were reviewed for tumor site, TNM staging, surgical treatment, and tumor pathologic staging data. Cell blocks were obtained for each of the study patients, and CD31 staining was used to measure microvessel density (MVD) in areas of primary tumor hot spots.

Results: Twenty-eight consecutive patients met inclusion criteria and had adequate cell blocks for evaluation. MVD for T3 staged (41.2 MVD, mean) and T4 staged (36.4 MVD, mean) tumors were higher than earlier staged T1 staged (31.3 MVD, mean) and T2 staged (24.9 MVD, mean) tumors. Laryngeal T3 and T4 tumors had MVDs as high as 43.4 MVD (mean) and 40.4 MVD (mean), respectively, compared with a 23.9 MVD for T2 tumors. This difference was statistically significant (P < .01). Our report indicates a trend toward increasing MVD with N-stage.

Conclusion: Our series demonstrates that there is a strong correlation between MVD in primary tumor hot spots and tumor T-stage, which implies that tumor angiogenesis may be a factor in tumor progression.