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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Improved tumor vascularization after anti-VEGF therapy with carboplatin and nab-paclitaxel associates with survival in lung cancer.


PMID 25605928

Abstract

Addition of anti-VEGF antibody therapy to standard chemotherapies has improved survival and is an accepted standard of care for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the mechanisms by which anti-VEGF therapy increases survival remain unclear. We evaluated dynamic CT-based vascular parameters and plasma cytokines after bevacizumab alone and after bevacizumab plus chemotherapy with carboplatin and nab-paclitaxel in advanced NSCLC patients to explore potential biomarkers of treatment response and resistance to this regimen. Thirty-six patients were enrolled in this study. The primary end point was 6-mo progression-free survival rate, which was 74% (95% CI: 57, 97). This regimen has a promising overall response rate of 36% and median time to progression of 8.5 (6.0, 38.7) mo and overall survival of 12.2 (9.6, 44.1) mo. We found that anti-VEGF therapy led to a sustained increase in plasma PlGF, a potential pharmacodynamic marker. We also found that higher levels of soluble VEGFR1 measured before starting bevacizumab with chemotherapy were associated with worse survival, supporting its potential role as biomarker of treatment resistance. Our imaging biomarker studies indicate that bevacizumab-based treatment-while reducing blood flow, volume, and permeability in the overall population-may be associated with improved survival in patients with improved tumor vasculature and blood perfusion after treatment. This hypothesis-generating study supports the notion that excessively decreasing vascular permeability and pruning/rarefaction after bevacizumab therapy may negatively impact the outcome of combination therapy in NSCLC patients. This hypothesis warrants further dose-titration studies of bevacizumab to examine the dose effect on tumor vasculature and treatment efficacy.