Objective: Oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) is a precancerous condition characterized by extensive fibrosis of the
submucosa, leading to limitation in the mouth opening. Despite its precancerous nature, role of angiogenesis in the malignant
transformation of the epithelium in the background of fibrosis has not been studied in detail for OSF. Immunohistochemial
expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent angiogenic cytokine, implicated in tumor angiogenesis
of several types, was analyzed in OSF.
Materials and Methods: Immunohistochemical expression of VEGF was evaluated on thirty (30) paraffin-embedded tissue
sections of diagnosed cases of OSF and ten (10) control samples of healthy volunteers.
Results: Out of 30 cases, 18 (60%) cases showed cytoplasmic expression of VEGF in the basal epithelial cells and fibroblasts,
of which 17(94%) were of mild and one (6%) of moderate intensity respectively. Remaining 12 (40%) cases of
OSF and 10 controls showed no immunoreactivity for VEGF. There was no statistically significant difference observed
between the disease stages and staining intensity of VEGF.
Conclusion: VEGF immunoreactivity was found to be statistically increased in OSF compared to normal healthy controls
suggesting that upregulation of VEGF may play an important role in tumor progression during malignant transformation
of atrophic epithelium in OSF.