Increased angiogenesis is associated with a higher metastasis- and mortality rate in uveal melanoma (UM). Recently, it was demonstrated that genetic events, such as 8q-gain and BAP1-loss, influence the level of immune infiltrate. We aimed to determine whether genetic events, and specific cytokines, relate to angiogenesis in UM. Data from UM patients who underwent enucleation between 1999 and 2008 were analysed. Microvascular density (MVD) and the presence of infiltrating immune cells were determined with immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence in 43 cases. Chromosome status, BAP1 IHC and mRNA expression of angiogenesis-related genes were known in 54 cases. Tumours with monosomy 3/BAP1-loss showed a higher MVD compared to tumours with disomy 3/normal BAP1 expression (p = 0.008 and p = 0.004, respectively). Within BAP1-positive lesions (n = 20), 8q-gain did not relate to MVD (p = 0.51). A high MVD was associated with an increased expression of angiopoietin 2 (ANGPT2) (p = 0.041), Von Willebrand Factor (VWF) (p = 0.010), a decreased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGF-B) (p = 0.024), and increased numbers of tumour-infiltrating macrophages (CD68+, p = 0.017; CD68+CD163+, p = 0.031) and lymphocytes (CD4+, p = 0.027). Concluding, vascular density of UM relates to its genetic profile: Monosomy 3 and BAP1-loss are associated with an increased MVD, while an early event (gain of 8q) is not independently related to MVD, but may initiate a preparation phase towards development of vessels. Interestingly, VEGF-B expression is decreased in UM with a high MVD.

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Department of Ophthalmology

Brouwer, N.J., Gezgin, G., Wierenga, A.P.A., Bronkhorst, IHG, Marinkovic, M, Luyten, G., … Jager, MJ. (2019). Tumour Angiogenesis in Uveal Melanoma Is Related to Genetic Evolution. Cancers, 11(7). doi:10.3390/cancers11070979