• Antivascular agents for non-small-cell lung cancer: current status and future directions.

      Amir, Eitan; Mandoky, Laszlo; Blackhall, Fiona H; Thatcher, Nick; Klepetko, Walter; Ankersmit, Hendrik Jan; Reza Hoda, Mir Ali; Ostoros, Gyula; Dank, Magdolna; Dome, Balazs; et al. (2009-11)
      BACKGROUND: Despite improvements in surgery and chemo(radio)therapy which have allowed for modest advances in the treatment of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), survival remains poor and further improvements are needed. Attention over recent years has focused, therefore, on targeted therapies, with notable success in the development of antivascular drugs. OBJECTIVE: To summarize the current knowledge on antivascular therapy in patients with NSCLC. METHOD: Review of randomized controlled trials exploring treatment of NSCLC patients with antivascular drugs. RESULTS/CONCLUSION: Bevacizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), when added to cytotoxic chemotherapy, was the first treatment to prolong the overall survival of patients with advanced NSCLC beyond 12 months, a significant breakthrough in the management of advanced NSCLC. Small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors and alternative antivascular strategies such as VEGF-trap and vascular disrupting agents are also being investigated and have shown promise in clinical trials. This review summarizes the most recent and important findings in antivascular agents in NSCLC.
    • Biomarkers of angiogenesis and their role in the development of VEGF inhibitors.

      Murukesh, N; Dive, Caroline; Jayson, Gordon C; Department of Medical Oncology, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Cancer Research UK and University of Manchester, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. (2010-01-05)
      Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been confirmed as an important therapeutic target in randomised clinical trials in multiple disease settings. However, the extent to which individual patients benefit from VEGF inhibitors is unclear. If we are to optimise the use of these drugs or develop combination regimens that build on this efficacy, it is critical to identify those patients who are likely to benefit, particularly as these agents can be toxic and are expensive. To this end, biomarkers have been evaluated in tissue, in circulation and by imaging. Consistent drug-induced increases in plasma VEGF-A and blood pressure, as well as reductions in soluble VEGF-R2 and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI parameters have been reported. In some clinical trials, biomarker changes were statistically significant and associated with clinical end points, but there is considerable heterogeneity between studies that are to some extent attributable to methodological issues. On the basis of observations with these biomarkers, it is now appropriate to conduct detailed prospective studies to define a suite of predictive, pharmacodynamic and surrogate response biomarkers that identify those patients most likely to benefit from and monitor their response to this novel class of drugs.
    • Development of antiangiogenic agents for ovarian cancer.

      Collinson, Fiona J; Hall, Geoff D; Perren, Timothy J; Jayson, Gordon C; Department of Medical Oncology, St James' University Hospital, Leeds, UK. fjcollinson@doctors.org.uk (2008-01)
      Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains a major source of cancer morbidity and mortality, despite advances in surgical and chemotherapeutic management. The molecular pathways that control angiogenesis have been demonstrated to be key to the pathogenesis of EOC, and have been shown to have prognostic significance. Increased understanding of the pathways and molecules involved in angiogenesis has allowed the identification of a number of targets for antiangiogenic therapies and the development of a variety of antiangiogenic drugs. There is now significant preclinical evidence, and a growing body of clinical data, demonstrating promising results with antiangiogenic drugs in the treatment of EOC. Single-agent VEGF inhibitor response rates in pretreated patients of between 15 and 20% have been reported, with much higher response rates when used in combination with chemotherapeutic agents. These benefits, however, must be balanced with the toxicities associated with these drugs, particularly the more serious ones, such as gastrointestinal perforation. The results of ongoing and future randomized clinical trials will confirm if, and how, antiangiogenic therapies should be integrated into the routine management of EOC. However, critical issues, such as the relative importance of combination remission induction regimens and maintenance therapy, remain poorly defined.
    • Managing adverse events in the use of bevacizumab and chemotherapy.

      Blowers, Elaine; Hall, Kate; Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester. (2009-02)
      The anti-angiogenic agent bevacizumab (Avastin) has received regulatory approval for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in combination with the taxane chemotherapy agent paclitaxel. A range of side-effects associated with this agent have been identified across different tumour types; these are known to differ from those frequently reported with chemotherapy agents. This article is part one of a two-part literature review that was conducted to provide insight into the range, frequency and severity of adverse events that arise specifically in breast cancer when bevacizumab is combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy. PubMed and the websites of oncology conferences were searched to identify studies of bevacizumab plus chemotherapy in patients with MBC. Seventeen studies met the search criteria, including 3,836 bevacizumab-treated patients. Side-effects associated with bevacizumab included hypertension, proteinuria, thromboembolic events, bleeding and cardiac toxicity. Part two of the series will appear in the next issue of BJN.
    • A phase I study to determine the safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a dual VEGFR and FGFR inhibitor, brivanib, in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors.

      Jonker, D J; Rosen, L S; Sawyer, M B; de Braud, F; Wilding, G; Sweeney, C J; Jayson, Gordon C; McArthur, G A; Rustin, G; Goss, G; et al. (2011-06)
      This study was designed to determine the safety, pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of brivanib in patients with advanced/metastatic solid tumors.
    • Randomized phase II placebo-controlled trial of maintenance therapy using the oral triple angiokinase inhibitor BIBF 1120 after chemotherapy for relapsed ovarian cancer.

      Ledermann, Jonathan A; Hackshaw, Allan; Kaye, Stan B; Jayson, Gordon C; Gabra, Hani; McNeish, Iain; Earl, Helena; Perren, Timothy J; Gore, Martin; Persic, Mojca; et al. (2011-10-01)
      Inhibiting angiogenesis is one of the most promising avenues for new therapies for ovarian cancer. We investigated the efficacy and safety of a novel agent, BIBF 1120, a triple angiokinase inhibitor, after chemotherapy for relapsed disease.
    • Safety and efficacy of first-line bevacizumab-based therapy in advanced non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (SAiL, MO19390): a phase 4 study.

      Crinò, Lucio; Dansin, Eric; Garrido, Pilar; Griesinger, Frank; Laskin, Janessa; Pavlakis, Nick; Stroiakovski, Daniel; Thatcher, Nick; Tsai, Chun-Ming; Wu, Yi-long; et al. (2010-08)
      BACKGROUND: Results of two phase 3 trials have shown first-line bevacizumab in combination with chemotherapy improves clinical outcomes in patients with advanced or recurrent non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The SAiL (MO19390) study was undertaken to assess the safety and efficacy of first-line bevacizumab combined with standard chemotherapy regimens in clinical practice. METHODS: Between August, 2006, and June, 2008, patients with untreated locally advanced, metastatic, or recurrent non-squamous NSCLC were recruited to this open-label, single group, phase 4 study from centres in 40 countries. Eligible patients had histologically or cytologically documented inoperable, locally advanced, metastatic, or recurrent disease (stage IIIB-IV); an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-2; and adequate haematological, hepatic, and renal function. Patients received bevacizumab (7.5 or 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks) plus standard chemotherapy for up to six cycles, followed by single-agent bevacizumab until disease progression. The primary endpoint was safety; analysis was by intention to treat (ITT). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00451906. FINDINGS: At the final data cutoff (July 24, 2009), an ITT population of 2212 patients was assessed. The incidence of clinically significant (grade > or = 3) adverse events of special interest was generally low; thromboembolism occurred in 172 (8%) patients, hypertension in 125 (6%), bleeding in 80 (4%), proteinuria in 67 (3%), and pulmonary haemorrhage in 15 (1%). 57 (3%) patients died because of these adverse events, with thromboembolism (26 patients, 1%) and bleeding (17, 1%) as the most common causes. The most common grade 3 or higher serious adverse events deemed by investigators to be associated with bevacizumab were pulmonary embolism (28 patients; 1%) and epistaxis, neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, and deep vein thrombosis (all of which occurred in 13 patients [1%]). Bevacizumab was temporarily interrupted after 28 (2%) of 1347 bleeding events and 72 (7%) of 1025 hypertension events, and permanently discontinued after 110 (8%) bleeding events and 40 (4%) hypertension events. No new safety signals were reported. INTERPRETATION: Our results confirm the manageable safety profile of first-line bevacizumab in combination with various standard chemotherapy regimens for treatment of advanced non-squamous NSCLC. FUNDING: F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.
    • Systemic therapy for metastatic malignant melanoma--from deeply disappointing to bright future?

      Lorigan, Paul C; Eisen, Tim; Hauschild, Axel; CRUK Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Wilmslow Road, Manchester, UK. paul.lorigan@manchester.ac.uk (2008-05)
      The last decade has seen a considerable improvement in the understanding of the biology of melanoma. Advances have come in the understanding of the importance of critical oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes, epigenetic phenomena, signalling pathways, drug resistance mechanisms, the pivotal role of the local immune system, and the importance of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. Many of these pathways and interactions include potentially 'drugable' targets. These developments have allowed the identification and/or design of a range of new, targeted therapies. Evaluation of these new drugs has brought a whole new series of challenges. These include identification of appropriate pre-clinical models, overcoming the redundancy in-built in complex biological systems, identification of appropriate molecular and clinical endpoints to show that the drug is hitting the target, how to combine treatments, and new toxicities. For the first time, there is the possibility of personalized treatment for melanoma patients, based on individual host and tumour characteristics. This paper discusses the range of new drugs and targets have been identified, the outcome of clinical trials, and the directions for future advances.
    • Systemic treatment for advanced (stage IIIb/IV) non-small cell lung cancer: more treatment options; more things to consider. Conclusion.

      Bunn, Paul A; Thatcher, Nick; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA. (2008)
      Chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can prolong survival and improve quality of life, but the majority of advanced stage patients succumb to disease within 2 years, meaning that there is room for improvement. The standard chemotherapy for NSCLC involves one of a number of chemotherapy doublets that have been shown to improve survival when compared with single agents or best supportive care. These doublets are generally comparable in terms of efficacy, differing primarily in their toxicity profiles. However, encouraging new options may be approaching, including therapies targeted to specific patient subpopulations, and the use of combinations of current and new drugs to produce synergistic effects. Targeted therapies include the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) erlotinib and gefitinib, EGFR monoclonal antibody cetuximab, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors such as sorafenib, a small molecule TKI, and bevacizumab, a recombinant monoclonal VEGF antibody. Most attempts to combine EGFR-targeted therapies with standard chemotherapy in NSCLC have produced poor results, possibly as a result of antagonism between EGFR TKIs and chemotherapy. Positive results with bevacizumab suggest that VEGF-rather than EGFR-targeted therapies may produce better results when combined with chemotherapy. Other new drugs being tested include enzastaurin, an oral serine threonine kinase inhibitor; vinflunine, a vinca alkaloid; dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors; and thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Combinations of therapies, especially those acting via different mechanisms, hold promise for improvements in survival, but careful testing is required to determine optimum combinations of available drugs and where new drugs fit into the armamentarium.
    • Systemic treatment for advanced (stage IIIb/IV) non-small cell lung cancer: more treatment options; more things to consider. Introduction.

      Bunn, Paul A; Thatcher, Nick; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA. (2008)
      Lung cancer is the most common cancer and a highly lethal disease, with improvements in survival rates being dependent on advances in early detection and improved systemic therapies applied to surgery and/or irradiation in early-stage disease. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents around 80% of all lung cancers, and unfortunately at diagnosis most patients have advanced unresectable disease with a very poor prognosis. Indeed, 30%-40% of patients treated with first-line therapy will subsequently be candidates for second-line treatment. Current U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved second-line treatments are docetaxel (a taxane), pemetrexed (a folate antimetabolite), and erlotinib (an epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR] tyrosine kinase inhibitor [TKI]). Gefitinib, another EGFR TKI, currently has only limited use in North America and is not available in Europe. These and other new molecular-target-specific agents may have the potential to maximize therapeutic benefit while minimizing toxicity to normal cells. Overexpression of EGFR is reported to occur in 40%-80% of NSCLC cases, and EGFR mutations are associated with a significantly higher response rate and longer duration of response following treatment with EGFR TKIs. Another option is antiangiogenesis: the growth and persistence of solid tumors and their metastases are angiogenesis dependent, and so antiangiogenic therapies have been developed, such as the use of TKIs that block the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor. In fact, many commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs have antiangiogenic activity. Ongoing studies are focusing on patient selection and targeted therapies, and there are many new agents undergoing clinical trials.
    • Targeting blood vessels for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.

      Amir, Eitan; Hughes, Sarah; Blackhall, Fiona H; Thatcher, Nick; Ostoros, Gyula; Timar, Jozsef; Tovari, Jozsef; Kovacs, Gabor; Dome, Balazs; Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom. (2008-08)
      Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Although modest survival benefit has been observed with surgery, radiotherapy and platinum-based chemotherapy, an efficacy plateau has been reached. It has become obvious, therefore, that additional treatments are needed in order to provide an improved survival benefit for these patients. The use of molecular targeted therapies, particularly those against tumor capillaries, has the potential to improve outcomes for NSCLC patients. Bevacizumab, a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), is the first targeted drug that has shown survival advantage when combined with chemotherapy in NSCLC. Other antivascular agents, including vascular disrupting agents (VDAs) and different small-molecule receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, have also shown promise in phase I and II trials in NSCLC. The aim of this study is to describe the clinical properties of these drugs and to discuss the evidence that supports their use in the treatment of NSCLC. Furthermore, we plan to review the main pitfalls of antivascular strategies in NSCLC cancer therapy as well as assess the future direction of these treatment methods with an emphasis on clarifying the molecular background of the effects of these drugs and defining the biomarkers.