Increased mobilisation of circulating endothelial progenitors in von Hippel-Lindau disease and renal cell carcinoma.
BACKGROUND: Circulating endothelial cells (CECs) are a candidate biomarker for monitoring angiogenesis in cancer. Circulating endothelial cell subsets are mobilised by angiogenic mediators. Because of the highly angiogenic phenotype of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), we sought to assess the potential of CECs as a marker of RCC in patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease and those with sporadic RCC. METHODS: We performed multicolour flow cytometry to enumerate CECs in patients with RCC, patients with VHL disease with and without RCC, and normal subjects. Two subsets of CECs were evaluated: mature CECs (mCECs) and circulating endothelial progenitors (CEPs). RESULTS: In patients with VHL disease and RCC and those with sporadic RCC (N=10), CEPs and the CEP:mCEC ratio were higher than in normal subjects (N=17) (median CEPs: 0.97 vs 0.19 cells μl(-1), respectively, P<0.01; median CEP:mCEC: 0.92 vs 0.58, respectively, P=0.04). However, in patients with VHL without RCC, CECs were not increased. In paired pre- and post-nephrectomy RCC patient samples (N=20), CEPs decreased after surgery (median difference 0.02 cells μl(-1), -0.06 to 1.2; P=0.05). CONCLUSION: Circulating endothelial progenitors were elevated in RCC, but not in patients with VHL without RCC. Circulating endothelial progenitor enumeration merits further investigation as a monitoring strategy for patients with VHL.
Bhatt, RS; Zurita, AJ; O'Neill, A; Norden-Zfoni, A; Zhang, L; Wu, HK; Wen, PY; George, D; Sukhatme, VP; Atkins, MB; Heymach, JV
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