Background: Platelets have been reported to act as transporters of tumor-originated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), contributing to tumor angiogenesis and progression. Serum VEGF per platelet count, as an indirect theoretical estimate of VEGF in platelets, may predict the malignant potential of tumors. However, its prognostic significance is still unclear in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a highly vascular tumor. Methods: Serum VEGF was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We compared serum VEGF, platelet count and serum VEGF per platelet count in 52 HCC patients, 26 liver cirrhosis patients and 30 healthy controls. The relation of serum VEGF per platelet count with clinicopathologic variables of HCC patients and the prognostic significance were investigated. Results: Serum VEGF per platelet count in HCC patients was higher than in liver cirrhosis patients and healthy controls (P< 0.01). There was a statistically significant correlation between serum VEGF and platelet count in HCC patients (r = 0.751, P < 0.01). Serum VEGF per platelet count was higher in patients with advanced stage and portal vein thrombosis (P < 0.01). Patients with high serum VEGF per platelet count (>1.4 pg/106) showed poor response to treatment and shorter overall survival (P < 0.01). Serum VEGF per platelet count was an independent prognostic factor with the presence of portal vein thrombosis (P < 0.01). Conclusions: Serum VEGF per platelet count could be a feasible prognostic indicator during the follow-up of patients with HCC.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
- Platelet count
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas