Elevated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) blood concentration reflects its prostatic production, making this a potentially interesting tumour marker to support the decision of submitting a patient for prostatic biopsy. The objective was to review systematically the evidence on the role of VEGF blood concentration in prostate cancer detection. Published studies addressing the relation between serum or plasma VEGF levels and prostate cancer were identified by searching Pubmed, ISI Web of Knowledge, SCOPUS and LILACS up to January 2010, and reviewed following a standardized protocol. Three studies reported higher plasma VEGF (pg/ml) in patients with localized prostate cancer than in healthy controls (7.0 vs. 0.0, 9.9 vs. 2.2, and 210 vs. 26.5, P<0.01), and two showed higher serum VEGF (pg/ml) in prostate cancer patients than in patients with benign prostate hypertrophy (518.9 vs. 267.9, P<.001; no specific values, P<0.05). In one study, serum VEGF was significantly lower in healthy controls than in patients with benign prostate hypertrophy, localized or metastatic prostate cancer. The three studies that used controls with previous suspicion of prostatic cancer but a negative biopsy reported non-statistically significant difference in VEGF serum levels (pg/ml) between controls and localized prostate cancer patients (241 vs. 206; 69.5 vs. 55; 215.2 vs. 266.4). Higher VEGF plasma levels are observed in prostatic cancer patients compared with healthy controls, but serum levels do not appear to be useful in differentiating benign from malignant prostatic disease using, as controls, individuals with high risk of prostate cancer and negative biopsy. European Journal of Cancer Prevention 19: 385-392 (C) 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
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