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BACKGROUND: Angiogenesis is a prerequisite for growth of invasive tumours. We hypothesized that angiogenesis would be present in invasive basal cell carcinoma (BCC) but not in a noninvasive tumour such as actinic keratosis (AK). OBJECTIVES: To investigate both types of tumour for evidence of angiogenesis. METHODS: Patients with BCC or AK underwent intravital videocapillaroscopy. Three regions were examined: the tumour, perilesional skin and a control site. Microvessel width, area fraction and length density were determined from capillaroscopy images. Biopsies were stained for CD34 and a microvessel count was performed. RESULTS: Capillaroscopy demonstrated a grossly disorganized tumour microcirculation in BCC. Compared with control skin, microvessel width was increased 2.4-fold, area fraction was increased 4.9-fold and length density was increased 5.9-fold. In AK, microvessel width was increased 1.7-fold, area fraction 2.5-fold and length density 3.4-fold. Vessel width and area fraction were significantly greater in BCC than AK. Biopsies showed significant increases in microvessel length density for both BCC and AK compared with control skin, with BCC significantly greater than AK. CONCLUSIONS: Angiogenesis was demonstrated in BCC in humans in vivo, and to a lesser extent in AK.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Dermatol

Publication Date





105 - 110


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Biopsy, Carcinoma, Basal Cell, Female, Humans, Keratosis, Male, Microcirculation, Microscopy, Video, Middle Aged, Neovascularization, Pathologic, Skin, Skin Neoplasms, Ultraviolet Rays