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Cancer Cell. 2004 Dec;6(6):553-63.

Kinetics of vascular normalization by VEGFR2 blockade governs brain tumor response to radiation: role of oxygenation, angiopoietin-1, and matrix metalloproteinases.

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E.L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 100 Blossom Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


The recent landmark Phase III clinical trial with a VEGF-specific antibody suggests that antiangiogenic therapy must be combined with cytotoxic therapy for the treatment of solid tumors. However, there are no guidelines for optimal scheduling of these therapies. Here we show that VEGFR2 blockade creates a "normalization window"--a period during which combined radiation therapy gives the best outcome. This window is characterized by an increase in tumor oxygenation, which is known to enhance radiation response. During the normalization window, but not before or after it, VEGFR2 blockade increases pericyte coverage of brain tumor vessels via upregulation of Ang1 and degrades their pathologically thick basement membrane via MMP activation.

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