A recently published article by Dr. Henry Thompson et al (Cancer Prevention Laboratory) made the front cover of the July 2004 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. The cover features CD31 (PECAM) immunostaining of three different stages of premalignant disease (moderate IDP, Florid IDP and DCIS) along with corresponding image analysis masks.

Thompson HJ, McGinley J, Wolfe P, Spoelstra N, and Knott K. (2004) Targeting Angiogenesis for Mammary Cancer Prevention: Factors to Consider in Experimental Design and Analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. Jul;13(7):1173-1184

An experimental model developed to investigate premalignant stages of breast cancer was used to establish a rationale for designing experiments that target angiogenesis for cancer prevention. Blood vessels were identified via CD31 immunostaining, and all vessels that occurred in a 50 µm wide region circumscribing each pathology were counted using a digital imaging technique. The blood vessel density associated with terminal end buds was unaffected by carcinogen treatment, whereas vessel density was higher in intraductal proliferations and ductal carcinoma in situ than in terminal end buds (P < 0.001) and total vascularity increased with morphologic progression. In comparison with intraductal proliferation or ductal carcinoma in situ, mammary carcinomas had higher vascular density in the tissue surrounding the cancer with a marked increase in the number of blood vessels <25 µm2. These data suggest that antiangiogenic chemopreventive agents would inhibit cancer occurrence if initiated at any premalignant stage of the carcinogenic process. Because increased vascular density observed during premalignancy could be explained by the size expansion of the lesion and its encroachment on a preexisting blood supply, by pathology-associated vessel expansion, and/or by angiogenesis, it remains to be determined if antiangiogenic agents will reduce the prevalence of premalignant lesions or cause their accumulation by blocking conversion to carcinomas. Failure to recognize the patterns of vascularization that accompany morphologic progression could limit the success of efforts to target angiogenesis for cancer prevention and lead to misinformation about how agents that affect blood vessel formation or growth inhibit the carcinogenic process.

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