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Microvessel density is high in clear-cell renal cell carcinomas of Ukrainian patients exposed to chronic persistent low-dose ionizing radiation after the Chernobyl accident

Abstract

During the 25-year period subsequent to the Chernobyl accident, the morbidity of malignant renal tumors in Ukraine has increased from 4.7 to 10.7 per 100,000 of the total population. Recent studies of our group have shown that increases in morbidity, aggressiveness, and proliferative activity of renal cell carcinomas (RCCs), especially clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC), in Ukrainian patients continuously inhabiting the radio-contaminated areas could be explained by specific molecular changes influenced by the so-called “chronic persistent low-dose ionizing radiation” (CPLDIR) exposure. This study aimed to examine the role of angiogenesis in CCRCC carcinogenesis associated with CPLDIR in patients living more than 20 years in cesium 137 (137Cs) contaminated areas after the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine. Paraffin-embedded specimens of 106 CCRCs were studied: Control cases were 18 tumors from Spanish patients (group 1), 25 tumors from Ukrainian patients from so-called clean areas without known radio-contamination (group 2), and 63 tumors from Ukrainian patients from radio-contaminated areas (group 3). For intratumoral microvessel density (MVD) determination, anti-CD31 antibody was used. A computerized image analysis program was used to quantitatively calculate the vascular density. Seventy-three percent of group 3 and 72 % of group 2 CCRCCs displayed the highest MVD. A striking increase in MVD was seen in group 3 CCRCCs, in comparison with groups 1 and 2 (p < 0.001). The majority of the hot spot vessels in group 3 was poorly differentiated. Moreover, MVD values for total vessels as well as for capillaries and tumor grade were strongly correlated. When we compared only tumor–node–metastasis tumor stages I and II, the differences remained statistically significant (p < 0.1). The ratio of the average total vessels and capillaries in the Ukrainian groups combined was 1.65:1 in comparison to the Spanish group. Our results provide evidence that CPLDIR exposure increases MVD (particularly capillary) in CCRCCs and is associated with a higher histological grade.

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Acknowledgments

This study is supported by grants: Conselleria Sanitat Comunitat Valenciana, ref. no. 909/2007 and Fundación Instituto Valenciano de Oncología (IVO) Valencia. Spain.

Conflict of interest statement

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.

Author information

Correspondence to A. Llombart-Bosch.

Additional information

Grant for temporary stay for invited professors, number UV-ESTPC-07-393, Valencia University, Spain.

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Romanenko, A.M., Ruiz-Saurí, A., Morell-Quadreny, L. et al. Microvessel density is high in clear-cell renal cell carcinomas of Ukrainian patients exposed to chronic persistent low-dose ionizing radiation after the Chernobyl accident. Virchows Arch 460, 611–619 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00428-012-1243-x

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Keywords

  • Conventional renal cell carcinoma
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Angiogenesis
  • Microvessel density
  • CD31antibody