Expression of endothelin 1 and its angiogenic role in meningiomas

Department of Surgery, University of Pisa, via Roma 57, 56100 Pisa, Italy.
Archiv für Pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für Klinische Medicin (Impact Factor: 2.65). 12/2006; 449(5):546-53. DOI: 10.1007/s00428-006-0273-7
Source: PubMed


Meningiomas are one of the most frequent central nervous system tumours. Although slow-growing at times, they continue to be a cause of morbidity and mortality. The endothelin (ET) family consists of three isoforms: ET-1 is the most abundant one. ET-1 may be involved in meningioma tumourigenesis in concert with other growth factors, in particular with angiogenic agents. We analysed ET-1 expression by immunohistochemistry and its activating system by reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction in 56 cases of meningioma. We found an association between high-grade meningiomas and high ET-1 expression levels (p=0.002). Moreover, we evaluated the potential angiogenic role of ET-1, finding an elevated microvessel count in tumours with high ET expression levels (p=0.004). ET-1 may contribute to meningioma growth by inducing formation of new blood vessels. The finding that ET-1 expression positively correlates with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in meningiomas (p=0.03) also supports the hypothesized modulating effect of ET-1 on angiogenesis. Thus, the influence of the ET system on the progression of meningiomas may occur through stimulation of VEGF. The association of ET-1 and meningioma represents a potential area for therapeutic intervention with selective ET inhibitors. Additional clinical studies will be needed before inhibitors can be incorporated in clinical practice.

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