Microvessel density correlates with lymph node metastases and prognosis in hilar cholangiocarcinoma

Armin Thelen, Arne Scholz, Christoph Benckert, Maik Schröder, Wilko Weichert, Bertram Wiedenmann, Peter Neuhaus, Sven Jonas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Neovascularization was shown to be critically involved in the progression of multiple cancers, and treatment approaches targeting tumor-associated neovascularization provide convincing results in recent years in some tumor entities. However, little is known about the tumor-associated neovascularization in hilar cholangiocarcinoma. The present study was conducted to analyze tumor-associated neovascularization in hilar cholangiocarcinoma and to determine its influence on tumor growth, metastasis, recurrence, and prognosis. Methods: We analyzed tissue specimens of hilar cholangiocarcinoma (n = 60) by immunohistochemistry using the endothelial-specific antibody CD31 and subsequently quantified the microvessel density (MVD). The MVD was correlated with clinicopathological characteristics and recurrence pattern of the tumors as well as survival of patients. Results: Hilar cholangiocarcinoma revealed a high degree of vascularization, with a calculated mean MVD of 28.1 ± 14.5 vessels. Tumors with a high MVD had a significant higher incidence of lymph node involvement (P = 0.009) and local recurrence (P < 0.001). Furthermore, a high MVD was identified to be a significant overall survival disadvantage (3-year, 28% vs. 93%; 5-year, 8% vs. 78%; P < 0.001) as well as disease-free survival disadvantage (3-year, 7% vs. 88%, 5-year, 7% vs. 72%; P < 0.001), with MVD representing an independent prognostic factor for survival. Conclusions: Neovascularization is associated with nodal spread as well as local recurrence and serves as an independent prognostic factor for survival after curative resection of hilar cholangiocarcinoma. Therefore, tumor-associated neovascularization seems to be critically involved in the progression of this tumor entity. In addition, neovascularization may represent a potential target in he development of new therapeutic approaches in hilar cholangiocarcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-966
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Hilar cholangiocarcinoma
  • Neovascularization
  • Prognosis
  • Tumor progression


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