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Anti-angiogenic drugs impede chemotherapy-stimulated tumor recovery
Date:9/8/2008

Scientists have gained new insight into a mechanism whereby chemotherapy may actually assist the rapid regrowth of tumors after treatment. The research, published by Cell Press in the September issue of the journal Cancer Cell, also helps to explain why a combination of traditional chemotherapy with drugs that block formation of new blood vessels might impede the devastating tumor recovery that often follows cancer therapy.

"Chemotherapy remains the most commonly employed form of systemic cancer treatment. However, although partial or complete shrinkage of tumor mass is frequently induced in chemotherapy-responsive tumors, survival benefits of such responses can be compromised by rapid regrowth of the drug-treated tumors," says senior study author Dr. Robert S. Kerbel from the University of Toronto.

Clinical trials have indicated that drugs that inhibit the growth of blood vessels, called antiangiogenic drugs, can sometimes enhance the effectiveness of traditional chemotherapy. For example, coadministration of the antiangiogenic drug bevacizumab with the chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel improves survival benefits for metastatic breast cancer and small cell lung cancer. In contrast, coadministration of bevacizumab with gemcitabine for treatment of pancreatic cancer does not increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy alone.

"Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain how antiangiogenic drugs enhance the treatment efficacy of cytotoxic chemotherapy, including impairing the ability of chemotherapy-responsive tumors to regrow after therapy," says author Dr. Yuval Shaked. Drs. Kerbel, Shaked, and colleagues had previously shown that treatment with a type of cytotoxic-like agent known as a vascular disrupting agent (VDA) induces rapid mobilization of cells called circulating endothelial progenitors (CEPs) from the bone marrow compartment that helps the tumor to regrow blood vessels and thereby recover from treatment.

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Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

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