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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 6;8(8):e69748. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069748. Print 2013.

Expression of drug targets in patients treated with sorafenib, carboplatin and paclitaxel.

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Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.



Sorafenib, a multitarget kinase inhibitor, targets members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and VEGFR kinases. Here we assessed the association between expression of sorafenib targets and biomarkers of taxane sensitivity and response to therapy in pre-treatment tumors from patients enrolled in ECOG 2603, a phase III comparing sorafenib, carboplatin and paclitaxel (SCP) to carboplatin, paclitaxel and placebo (CP).


Using a method of automated quantitative analysis (AQUA) of in situ protein expression, we quantified expression of VEGF-R2, VEGF-R1, VEGF-R3, FGF-R1, PDGF-Rβ, c-Kit, B-Raf, C-Raf, MEK1, ERK1/2, STMN1, MAP2, EB1 and Bcl-2 in pretreatment specimens from 263 patients.


An association was found between high FGF-R1 and VEGF-R1 and increased progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in our combined cohort (SCP and CP arms). Expression of FGF-R1 and VEGF-R1 was higher in patients who responded to therapy ((CR+PR) vs. (SD+PD+ un-evaluable)).


In light of the absence of treatment effect associated with sorafenib, the association found between FGF-R1 and VEGF-R1 expression and OS, PFS and response might reflect a predictive biomarker signature for carboplatin/paclitaxel-based therapy. Seeing that carboplatin and pacitaxel are now widely used for this disease, corroboration in another cohort might enable us to improve the therapeutic ratio of this regimen.

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