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Serum levels of the angiogenic cytokines basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in multiple myeloma

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Abstract: Angiogenesis is a crucial process in growth and progression of cancer and there is growing evidence that neovascularisation is important in hematological malignancies. Since an increased angiogenic potential has been identified in multiple myeloma, we simultaneously measured circulating serum levels of the cytokines bFGF, VEGF, HGF and IL-6 by ELISA in 67 patients with multiple myeloma or monoclonal gammopathies of undetermined significance (MGUS) and in 20 controls. Median values of bFGF were 4.7 pg/ml in healthy volunteers, 6.2 in MGUS, 6.3 in myeloma stage I, 13.4 in stage II and 21.7 in stage III. Myeloma patients had significantly higher bFGF serum levels than controls (p<0.001). Pretreatment bFGF levels differed significantly in the Salmon and Durie stages I–III (p=0.02) and were significantly elevated in stage II–III compared to stage I myeloma (p=0.02). In patients responding to chemotherapy according to the CLMTF criteria, a significant decrease in serum bFGF, VEGF and HGF levels occurred (median pretreatment values for bFGF 23.9 pg/ml, post-treatment 6.5 pg/ml; p<0.001, for VEGF 223 pg/ml versus 105 pg/ml; p=0.02 and for HGF 1429 pg/ml versus 1077 pg/ml; p=0.02, respectively). In 11 patients who did not achieve a remission, there was no significant decrease in bFGF, VEGF and HGF levels. These data show that myeloma in stages II and III is associated with an increase in serum bFGF concentrations and give the first report that effective chemo-therapy is accompanied by a significant decrease in the angiogenic factors bFGF, VEGF and HGF, while no decrease of these factors could be found in nonresponders.
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Keywords: angiogenesis; basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF); hepatocyte growth factor (HGF); interleukin-6 (IL-6); multiple myeloma; vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Hematology and Oncology, 2: Department of Medical Statistics, Universitätsklinikum Charité, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, Germany.

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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