Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
Does this test have other names?
VEGF, vascular permeability factor, VPF
What is this test?
This test measures the amount of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in your
blood. VEGF is a substance that helps encourage the growth of new blood vessels. Your
body makes more VEGF in certain cases. For instance, if your tissues aren't getting
enough oxygen, they may make more VEGF so that new blood vessels grow to bring in
more oxygen. Your lungs contain VEGF because good blood flow is vital there.
But VEGF also plays a role in cancer growth. Cancers need an ample blood supply. As
a tumor grows larger, its cells need more oxygen from the blood. The cancer encourages
new blood vessels to grow to supply it with more blood and oxygen. Most tumors show
higher levels of VEGF. Sometimes higher levels mean a lower chance of survival. In
addition, VEGF may be important in the spread of cancer to other places within your
body. Certain cancer treatments target VEGF. This test may be used to tell how well
the treatments are working.
VEGF can also promote "leakiness" of blood vessels. This can lead to swelling in surrounding
areas. This can be especially harmful during brain cancer because it can increase
pressure within the skull and may lead to brain damage. Leaking blood vessels in the
eye causing problems is also seen in age-related macular degeneration and eye changes
Why do I need this test?
You may need this test if your healthcare provider wants to find out how quickly a
tumor is growing. They might also order this test to see if your cancer is responding
to treatments that work against VEGF.
What other tests might I have along with this test?
If you have cancer, your healthcare provider may order tests to check for possible
complications linked to certain anti-VEGF treatments. These complications include:
What do my test results mean?
Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, and other things.
Your test results may be different depending on the lab used. They may not mean you
have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.
Higher levels of VEGF have been linked to many types of cancer.
How is this test done?
The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in
your arm or hand.
Does this test pose any risks?
Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection,
bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may
feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore.
What might affect my test results?
If your blood sample is mishandled by your healthcare provider or the lab, the results
may not be accurate. Medicines such as cholesterol medicine (statins) can increase
VEGF levels. High platelet levels can also affect the results.
How do I get ready for this test?
You don't need to prepare for this test. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines,
herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't
need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.