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Cancer Res. 2010 Dec 1;70(23):9886-94. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1419. Epub 2010 Nov 30.

Increase of plasma VEGF after intravenous administration of bevacizumab is predicted by a pharmacokinetic model.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the most potent cytokines targeted in antiangiogenic therapies. Bevacizumab, a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody to VEGF, is being used clinically in combination with chemotherapy for colorectal, non-small cell lung and breast cancers, and as a single agent for glioblastoma and is being tested for other types of cancer in numerous clinical trials. It has been reported that the intravenous injection of bevacizumab leads to an increase of plasma VEGF concentration in cancer patients. The mechanism responsible for this counterintuitive increase has not been elucidated, although several hypotheses have been proposed. We use a multiscale systems biology approach to address this problem. We have constructed a whole-body pharmacokinetic model comprising three compartments: blood, normal tissue, and tumor tissue. Molecular interactions among VEGF-A family members, their major receptors, the extracellular matrix, and an anti-VEGF ligand are considered for each compartment. Diffusible molecules extravasate, intravasate, are removed from the healthy tissue through the lymphatics, and are cleared from the blood.

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