One of the important proangiogenic factors involved in the growth of normal and neoplastic tissues is vascular endothelial growth factor VEGF.
Therefore we hypothesized, that serum VEGF concentration would differ between patients with metastatic and non-metastatic thyroid cancer, with multinodular goiter and healthy subjects. We also hypothesized that endogenous TSH stimulation would effect serum VEGF level. The study protocol was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland. All patients gave informed consent.
The study group consisted of 71 patients (62 females, 9 men), aged 44. 9±12.3 year, with differentiated thyroid cancer, (50 papillary, 17 follicular and 4 oxyphilic), treated in our department in the years 20032006. All patients had undergone total or near total thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine treatment, that had resulted in remission in 59 patients and persistent/recurrent disease in 12 patients. The study included two control groups 30 patients with non-toxic multinodular goiter and 30 healthy subjects.
Serum VEGF concentration was significantly higher in patients with distant metastases than in patients with remission or healthy. (423.4 vs 217.6 vs 235.55 pg/ml, P<0. 05). This was not observed in patients with locoregional metastases. During endogenous TSH stimulation, VEGF significantly decreased (215.3 vs 169.6 pg/ml, P<0.05). Patients with multinodular goiter showed significantly lower VEGF concentrations than the remaining study groups.
Serum VEGF concentration might be used as an additional marker of thyroid cancer with distant metasases, but its interpretation should be undertaken very cautiously. Endogenous TSH stimulation decreases VEGF levels in patients either with and without thyroid tissue, suggesting its regulatory effects through receptors located outside the thyrocytes.