Analysis of neovasculature in uveal melanoma by targeting the TGFβ-binding receptor endoglin: Is there prognostic relevance of proliferating endothelium?

Focke Ziemssen, Rayime Wegner, Jürgen Wegner, Olcay Tatar, Daniela Süsskind, Faik Gelisken, Martin Rohrbach, Karl U. Bartz-Schmidt, Salvatore Grisanti*

*Corresponding author for this work
7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Endoglin/CD105 is a transmembrane regulatory receptor for transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) that is predominantly expressed on proliferating endothelial cells (ECs) in culture and on angiogenic blood vessels in vivo. Endoglin has been associated with angiogenesis and prognosis in several malignancies. Although microvascular structure has been characterized by a variety of different other endothelial markers so far, there is no consensus on the prognostic value of microvessel quantification in uveal melanoma due to differences in tissue pretreatment, variability in the reactivity of endothelial cell markers, blood vessel counting methods, and vasculogenic mimicry by melanoma cells expressing endothelial cell markers. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression pattern of endoglin and to evaluate whether proliferative activity of ECs determines the clinical prognosis of uveal melanoma. Methods: Paraffin sections from 35 clinicopathologically well-characterized cases of primary uveal melanomas were stained for Ki-67, von Willebrand factor (vWF) and endoglin. In 16 cases, metastatic disease led to death. The mean follow-up of the nonmetastasized cases was 10.6 (9-13) years. The immunohistological specimens were evaluated by three independent observers who were masked to the follow-up of patients. Statistical analyzes included Kaplan-Meier survival curves and the fitting of log-rank and Wilcoxon test models. Results: Immunohistochemistry with vWF confirmed that all examined specimens were vascularized. Expression of Ki-67 could be found in 26 (74%) of the samples. Moderate to high expression of endoglin was found in 13 cases (37%). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a significant association (p<0.001) between an enhanced endoglin expression and death due to metastatic uveal melanoma. Conclusions: The study demonstrates for the first time that the expression of endoglin can be used as a specific marker for angiogenesis in uveal melanomas. Thus, differentiation between the quiescent and proliferating ECs enables the location and characterization of hot spots of angiogenesis in melanomas. The data suggest not only a prognostic relevance in individual patients but promise applications in assessing the efficacy of antiangiogenic agents.

Translated title of the contributionAnalyse der Gefäßneubildung beim Melanom der Uvea durch Targeting des TGFβ-bindenden Rezeptors Endoglin: Gibt es eine prognostische Relevanz für das proliferierende Endothel?
Original languageEnglish
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1124-1131
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2006


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