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The few studies published on angiogenesis in lymphoma have raised the question of whether or not microvessel density (MVD) is associated with more aggressive disease and have reported the observation that in follicular lymphomas, vessels are mature rather than immature. We investigated MVD and the vascular phenotype within follicular or diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, reactive nodes and tonsils. Vascular phenotype was defined by the expression or loss of reactivity to the antibody LH39 (detecting the LH39 laminin epitope of the basement membrane in mature vessels) and by detection of alpha V beta 3 (expressed on immature vessels). In reactive nodes and in follicular lymphomas, MVD was higher in the paracortex than in germinal centres or in neoplastic follicles. However, in neoplastic follicles an increase in alpha V beta 3-positive endothelium suggested the activation of an angiogenic pathway different from that present in the reactive follicles. In large B-cell lymphomas, MVD was higher than in reactive and neoplastic follicles but lower than in the reactive paracortex. The number of immature vessels (LH39 negative) and of alpha V beta 3-positive vessels was higher than in reactive lymph nodes and follicular lymphoma suggesting that a switch to a different angiogenic pathway has occurred. Finally, we have demonstrated that within reactive and neoplastic follicles vascular regression is occurring, perhaps constraining the growth of reactive follicles alongside other phenomena such as apoptosis. Vascular regression was previously believed to occur in adults only in ovarian and endometrial tissue. We conclude that different types of angiogenesis are present in follicular lymphomas and large B-cell lymphomas. This has implications for possible future therapies.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





553 - 559


Basement Membrane, Humans, Laminin, Lymphoid Tissue, Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin, Neovascularization, Pathologic, Pseudolymphoma