Angiogenesis Inhibitors: A Rational Strategy for Radiosensitization in the Treatment of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer?

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Angiogenesis is a precondition to invasion and metastasis for all solid tumors. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its family of receptors (VEGFR) play a critical role in cancer progression by promoting new blood vessel formation. Overexpression of VEGF and VEGFR has been correlated with poor prognosis in a variety of malignancies. In this era of targeted therapies for cancer, inhibiting angiogenesis through antiangiogenic and/or vascular targeting agents seems logical. Disturbing the angiogenesis process is an alternative or complementary strategy to inhibition of growth factor signaling. Blocking angiogenesis may enhance conventional anticancer treatments such as radiation therapy in situations where tumors are unresponsive to current antigrowth factor efforts. Compounds currently under investigation in cancer therapy include anti-VEGF/VEGFR antibodies, small molecule VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, antisense suppression of VEGF, immunotherapy, viral-directed targeting of VEGFR signaling, ribozymes, and various toxin conjugates. Preclinical investigations are exploring the benefits of combining angiogenic inhibitors with radiation. This article will provide an overview of these preclinical studies and the rationale for this therapeutic strategy in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer.

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