Vascular invasion

October 17, 2023

vascular invasion

In pathology, vascular invasion (or angioinvasion) refers to the presence of cancer cells within the blood vessels, including veins and arteries. This finding is significant because it indicates a higher potential for the cancer to metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body, which can occur through any of these vessel types.

Why is vascular invasion important?

  • Metastatic potential: Cancer cells’ ability to enter blood vessels significantly increases their likelihood of spreading to distant sites. Venous invasion typically leads to the spread of cancer cells to the lungs, whereas arterial invasion can disseminate cells throughout the body.
  • Prognosis: Vascular invasion generally correlates with a poorer prognosis. It suggests that the tumour is aggressive and capable of overcoming barriers to spread beyond its original site.
  • Treatment decisions: Knowledge of vascular invasion can influence treatment strategies. It may prompt the use of more aggressive systemic therapies to address the potential for metastatic disease.
  • Staging: The staging of cancer, which is important for treatment planning and outcome prediction, can be significantly affected by the presence of vascular invasion. For many types of cancer, the presence of vascular invasion increases the pathologic tumour stage.

About this article

Doctors wrote this article to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have questions about this article or your pathology report.

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