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Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2009 Aug;6(8):465-77. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2009.94. Epub 2009 Jul 7.

Adverse effects of anticancer agents that target the VEGF pathway.

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Investigational Drug Branch, Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20851, USA.


Antiangiogenesis agents that target the VEGF/VEGF receptor pathway have become an important part of standard therapy in multiple cancer indications. With expanded clinical experience with this class of agents has come the increasing recognition of the diverse adverse effects related to disturbance of VEGF-dependent physiological functions and homeostasis in the cardiovascular and renal systems, as well as wound healing and tissue repair. Although most adverse effects of VEGF inhibitors are modest and manageable, some are associated with serious and life-threatening consequences, particularly in high-risk patients and in certain clinical settings. This Review examines the toxicity profiles of anti-VEGF antibodies and small-molecule inhibitors. The potential mechanisms of the adverse effects, risk factors, and the implications for selection of patients and management are discussed.

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