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Anticancer Res. 2003 Mar-Apr;23(2A):1159-61.

Soluble markers for the detection of hypoxia under antiangiogenic treatment.

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  • Tumor Biology Center, Albert-Ludwigs-University Hospital, Breisacherstr. 117, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.


Antiangiogenic therapy is a promising new strategy to inhibit tumor growth and formation of metastases. VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) is known to be the most important proangiogenic factor, necessary for the development of new tumor vessels. Specific inhibitors of the VEGF receptor tyrosine kinases, like PTK787/ZK222584 (PTK/ZK), have shown antitumoral and antiangiogenic activity in several animal models. Ongoing early clinical trials with antiangiogenic compounds reveal the need for diagnostic methods to detect their biological activity. Pro-angiogenic growth factors like VEGF and bFGF (basic fibroblast growth factor), soluble variants of proangiogenic receptors like sFLT-1 and sTIE-2, as well as endothelial activation markers like sE-Selectin, can be measured in the serum and plasma of patients by the ELISA technique. They were detected in various malignant diseases to assess their use as surrogate markers in tumor angiogenesis. In different clinical Phase I trials with antiangiogenic compounds, these soluble markers were used to detect dose levels for biological activity. Soluble markers of tumor angiogenesis can be used as prognostic markers in various malignancies like colon cancer or multiple myeloma. Furthermore, they correlated with disease activity, prognosis and imaging techniques for the detection of vascular changes. In clinical Phase I trials with specific inhibitors of the VEGF receptor tyrosine kinases, VEGF serum levels increased in patients treated with higher doses, indicating increasing tumor hypoxia. Taking results from imaging techniques such as dynamic enhanced MRI into account, optimal doses for biological activity could be concluded. New biological treatment techniques will need new diagnostic methods to assess their specific biological activity in patients. Soluble markers and imaging techniques are useful tools for the detection of hypoxia under antiangiogenic treatment. Nevertheless, these techniques are still experimental. Therefore, further clinical evaluation is necessary.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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