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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2014, Article ID 104129, 9 pages
Research Article

Study of Microvessel Density and the Expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors in Adrenal Gland Pheochromocytomas

1Department of Pathomorphology, Jagiellonian University Medical College (UJCM), Grzegórzecka Street 16, 31-531 Cracow, Poland
2Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science, AGH-University of Science and Technology, Aleja Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Cracow, Poland
3Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kopernika Street 17, 31-501 Cracow, Poland
4II Department of General Surgery, Jagiellonian University Medical College, University Hospital, Kopernika 21 Street, 31-501 Cracow, Poland

Received 13 June 2014; Revised 15 August 2014; Accepted 18 August 2014; Published 3 September 2014

Academic Editor: Claudio Letizia

Copyright © 2014 Magdalena Białas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Angiogenesis (neoangiogenesis), a process of neovascularization, is an essential step for local tumor growth and distant metastasis formation. We have analysed angiogenesis status: vascular architecture, microvessel density, and vascular endothelial growth factors expression in 62 adrenal pheochromocytomas: 57 benign and 5 malignant. Immunohistochemical evaluation revealed that vascular architecture and vessel density are different in the central and subcapsular areas of the tumor. Furthermore, we have observed a strong correlation between number of macrophages and microvessel density in the central and subcapsular areas of the tumor and between the expression of VEGF-A in tumor cells and microvessel density in central and subcapsular areas of the tumor. Secondary changes in these tumors influence the results and both vascular architecture and microvessel density are markedly disturbed by hemorrhagic and cystic changes in pheochromocytomas. These changes are partially caused by laparoscopic operation technique. However, no differences in vascular parameters were found between pheochromocytomas with benign and malignant clinical behavior. Our observation showed that analysis of angiogenesis, as a single feature, does not help in differentiating malignant and benign pheochromocytomas and has no independent prognostic significance. On the other hand, high microvessel density in pheochromocytoma is a promising factor for antiangiogenic therapy in malignant cases.