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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2013 Jan;71(1):1-12. doi: 10.1007/s00280-012-1978-8. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Assessing the in vivo efficacy of biologic antiangiogenic therapies.

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Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



To review key clinical issues underlying the assessment of in vivo efficacy when using antiangiogenic therapies for cancer treatment.


Literature relevant to use of antiangiogenic therapies in cancer was reviewed, with particular emphasis on the assessment of in vivo efficacy of these agents, as well as additional angiogenic factors that could play a role in escape from angiogenesis inhibition.


In order to grow and metastasize, tumors need to continually acquire new blood supplies; therefore, therapeutic inhibition of angiogenesis has become a component of anticancer treatment for many tumor types. Bevacizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody directed at vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), has shown activity in combination with chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer. Nevertheless, the use of antiangiogenic therapies remains suboptimal; specifically, optimal dose, duration of therapy, and combination of agents remain unknown. Also, at present, it is not possible to determine which patients are most likely to respond to a given form of antiangiogenic therapy. There has been increased recognition of alternative pathways possibly associated with disease progression in patients undergoing antiangiogenic therapy targeted at VEGF-A. Multiligand-targeted antiangiogenic therapies, such as ziv-aflibercept (formerly known as aflibercept, VEGF Trap), are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. Ziv-aflibercept forms monomeric complexes with VEGF-A, VEGF-B, and PlGF, which have a long half-life, allowing optimization of ziv-aflibercept doses and angiogenic blockage.


Although antiangiogenic therapies have increased treatment options for cancer patients, their use is limited by a lack of established and standardized methodology to evaluate their efficacy in vivo. Circulating endothelial cells, hypertension, and several molecular and imaging-based markers have potential for use as biomarkers in these patients and may better define appropriate patient populations.

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