Plasma levels of VEGF-A, VEGF B, and VEGFR-1 and applicability of these parameters as tumor markers in diagnosis of breast cancer

  • Monika Zajkowska Medical University of Bialystok
  • Emilia Lubowicka Medical University of Bialystok
  • Paweł Malinowski Maria Sklodowska-Curie Oncology Center, Bialystok
  • Maciej Szmitkowski Medical University of Bialystok
  • Sławomir Ławicki Medical University of Bialystok


The VEGF family members are important factors in promoting angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in malignant processes. The aim of this study was to investigate plasma concentrations of VEGF-A, VEGF-B and their soluble VEGFR-1 receptor and their diagnostic utility and potency as compared to CA 15-3 in breast cancer patients and in relation to the control group. The study included 120 breast cancer patients and 60 control patients. Plasma levels of tested parameters were determined with ELISA and CA 15-3 levels were determined with CMIA. Concentrations of all tested parameters in breast cancer patients showed statistically significant difference when compared to the control groups (benign breast tumor patients and/or healthy women). VEGF-B showed the highest values of sensitivity (Sn) and predictive value of a negative test result (NPV) in total BC group (90% and 66.7%, respectively) and, more importantly, in stages I–II of BC (SE: 86.8%; 92.7%, NPV: 82.8%; 88.9%, respectively). Among all parameters tested, VEGF-A showed the highest specificity (Sf) (76.7%) and predictive value of a positive test result (PPV) (84.8%), yet they were lower than for CA 15-3. VEGF-A was also the best parameter that had statistically significant Area Under Curve (AUC) in stages I (0.678) and II (0.768). In the whole group of BC patients all parameters tested showed statistically significant AUC, but the maximum range was obtained for the combination of VEGF-A and CA 15-3 (0.817). The combined analysis of the studied parameters and CA 15-3 resulted in an increase in sensitivity and AUC values, which provides hope for developing a new panel of biomarkers that may be used in BC diagnosis in the future.