Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Role of Antiangiogenic Agents


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Abstract

New blood vessel formation plays an important role in breast cancer growth, invasion, and metastasis. Tumor growth is preceded by the development of new blood vessels, which provide a pathway for metastases and nutrients essential for growth. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key angiogenic mediator that stimulates endothelial cell proliferation and regulates vascular permeability. Highly proliferative tumors, such as those that are negative for the estrogen, progesterone, and HER2/neu receptors have enhanced angiogenesis that supports rapid growth and early metastases and have been found to have high levels of VEGF. Drugs developed to inhibit the angiogenic process may be particularly effective in triple-negative breast cancer. Subset analyses have demonstrated efficacy with combinations of the VEGF antibody bevacizumab in combination with chemotherapy and, to a limited degree, with other antiangiogenic agents. Many targeted biologic agents in development inhibit angiogenesis including those that inhibit the mammalian target of rapamycin, fibroblast growth factor, Notch, hypoxic inducible factor, 2-methoxyestradiol, insulin like growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase, and others. Ongoing studies are focusing on the effects of these agents in triple-negative disease, and there is an urgent need to identify markers that can predict response to specific targeted therapy.

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