Blood vessel maturation in human uveal Melanoma: Spatial distribution of neovessels and mature vasculature

Yolanda Piña, Colleen M. Cebulla, Timothy G. Murray, Armando Alegret, Sander R. Dubovy, Hinda Boutrid, William Feuer, Lejla Mutapcic, Maria Elena Jockovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aims of this study are (1) to evaluate the spatial distribution of neovessels and mature vessels in human uveal melanoma tumors and (2) to determine whether vessel maturation is associated with the major indicators for poor prognosis. Methods: Immunohistochemical analyses were performed on human tissue specimens from enucleated eyes (n = 14) to assess total vessels, neovessels, mature vessels, and cell proliferation. Tumor morphology was analyzed by hematoxylin and eosin and modified periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining.The spatial distribution of neovessels and mature vessels was analyzed by immunohistochemistry, and correlated with major indicators of poor prognosis (i.e., aggressive PAS patterns, epithelioid cytology, mitotic figures, extraocular extension, anterior tumor location, ciliary body involvement, large tumor size, cell proliferation, and angiogenic activity). Results: Neovesseldensity was greater than mature vessel density in apical (p = 0.17), central (p = 0.036), and peripheral (p = 0.31) regions of the tumors, while mature vessel density was greater than neovessel density in basal areas of the tumor (p = 0.47). This pattern indicated that vessel maturation begins at the base of the tumor and later extends to the peripheral and apical regions. The difference between mature and neovessel densities for the apical (-0.8 ± 1.9) and central areas (-0.8 ± 1.3) of the tumor was significantly higher than the difference obtained for the basal area (0.3 ± 1.6; p = 0.014 and p = 0.012, respectively), indicating a higher density of mature vessels compared to neovessels at the base. Statistical correlations were found between mature vessel density and tumor size (r = 0.48, p = 0.084), cell proliferation (r = 0.62, p = 0.042), and mitotic figures (r = 0.76, p = 0.001). Conclusions: Significant differences exist in the spatial distribution of mature versus neovessels in human uveal melanoma. Vessel maturation is associated with known clinical and pathologic indicators of poor prognosis (e.g., cell proliferation). Antiangiogenic therapy should be considered for the treatment of ocular malignancies; however, the results of this study indicate that blood vessel maturation heterogeneity may limit the efficacy of vessel targeting agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalOphthalmic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Angiogenesis
  • Uveal melanoma
  • Vessel maturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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