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Br J Cancer. 2012 Sep 4;107(6):961-6. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.342. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

Neoadjuvant bevacizumab persistently inactivates VEGF at the time of surgery despite preoperative cessation.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, General Hospital, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.



When anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) antibody bevacizumab is applied in neoadjuvant treatment of colorectal cancer patients with liver metastasis, 5-6 weeks between last bevacizumab dose and liver resection are currently recommended to avoid complications in wound and liver regeneration. In this context, we aimed to determine whether VEGF is inactivated by bevacizumab at the time of surgery.


Fifty colorectal cancer patients with liver metastases received neoadjuvant chemotherapy ± bevacizumab supplementation. The last dose of bevacizumab was administered 6 weeks before surgery. Plasma, subcutaneous and intraabdominal wound fluid were analysed for VEGF content before and after liver resection (day 1-3). Immunoprecipitation was applied to determine the amount of bevacizumab-bound VEGF.


Bevacizumab-treated individuals showed no increase in perioperative complications. During the entire monitoring period, plasma VEGF was inactivated by bevacizumab. In wound fluid, VEGF was also completely bound by bevacizumab and was remarkably low compared with the control chemotherapy group.


These data document that following a cessation time of 6 weeks, bevacizumab is fully active and blocks circulating and local VEGF at the time of liver resection. However, despite effective VEGF inactivation no increase in perioperative morbidity is recorded suggesting that VEGF activity is not essential in the immediate postoperative recovery period.

© 2012 Cancer Research UK

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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