Background: Rapidly growing cancer cells secrete growth-promoting polypeptides and have increased proteolytic activity, contributing to tumor progression and metastasis. Their presentation in malignant pleural effusion (MPE) and their predictive value for the outcome of pleurodesis and survival were studied. Methods: Between February 2011 and March 2012, MPE samples were prospectively collected from 61 patients. Twenty-five patients with non-malignant pleural effusion in the same period were included as controls. Pleural fluid osteopontin (OPN), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) concentrations were measured. Results: Patients with MPE had higher pleural fluid OPN, VEGF, and uPA concentrations than those with non-malignant pleural effusion, but only differences in VEGF were statistically significant (p=0.045). Patients with distant metastases had significantly elevated pleural fluid VEGF concentrations than those without (p=0.004). Pleural fluid OPN, VEGF, and uPA concentrations were positively correlated in most patients. However, there was no significant difference in pleural fluid OPN, VEGF, and uPA concentrations between patients with successful pleurodesis and those without. There was also no significant difference in cancer-specific survival between sub-groups with higher and lower pleural fluid OPN, VEGF, or uPA concentrations. Patients with successful pleurodesis had significantly longer cancer-specific survival than those without (p=0.015). Conclusions: Pleural fluid OPN, VEGF, and uPA concentrations are elevated in MPE but are not satisfactory predictors of pleurodesis outcome or survival. Patients with higher pleural fluid VEGF concentration have higher risk of distant metastasis. Evaluating the benefits of therapy targeting the VEGF pathway in these patients warrants further studies.
- Malignant pleural effusion
- Urokinase-type plasminogen activator
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research