BackgroundHigher Gleason grade is associated with prostate cancer mortality; however, there is significant heterogeneity in this association. We evaluated whether vessel morphology, a biomarker of angiogenesis, aided in distinguishing mortality risks among men with high Gleason grading.MethodsWe characterized vessel morphology (area and irregularity) among 511 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer during 1986 to 2000, re-reviewed Gleason grade, and followed men through 2012. Men were grouped according to integrated vessel lumen irregularity and vessel area across Gleason grade. The more angiogenic group was identified as those with more irregular vessel lumen and smaller vessel area. Crude rates (95 % confidence intervals) and survival probability were estimated across Gleason grade and vessel morphology.ResultsDuring a median 14-year follow-up, 62 men developed bone metastases or died of prostate cancer. Lethality rates were uniformly low within Gleason grade categories 6 and 7(3 + 4), regardless of vessel morphology. However, among men with Gleason grades of 7(4 + 3) or 8–10, the more angiogenic group was associated with fourfold higher risk of lethal outcomes compared to those with less angiogenic potential. Ten-year survival probability ranged from 95 to 74 % according to the extent of vessel morphology (p < 0.0001, log-rank test).ConclusionsVessel morphology may aid Gleason grading in predicting prostate cancer mortality risks among men diagnosed with high-grade Gleason cancers.