Improvements in Progression-Free and Overall Survival Due to the Use of Anti-Angiogenic Agents in Gynecologic Cancers
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In ovarian cancer (OC), the best established anti-angiogenic drug, bevacizumab, has demonstrated only modest prolonged progression free survival (PFS) and no increased overall survival (OS). The unanswered question is in which clinical situation bevacizumab might benefit ovarian cancer patients most. The cost-benefit analysis in the primary treatment was found not to be favorable but the use in the recurrent OC setting might be more compelling. Multi-targeted anti-angiogenic tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) such as cediranib and pazopanib have shown some therapeutic benefits with improvements of PFS and OS in patients with platinum-sensitive as well as resistant OC, in whom there is a major need for novel therapies. Very promising is also the observed improvement of PFS in recurrent OC in patients when combining cediranib with the PARP inhibitor olaparib without giving additional chemotherapy. The anti-angiogenic agent trebananib has achieved similar results like TKI, but has a favorable toxicity profile which does not overlap with those of VEGF inhibitors. In cervical cancer the addition of bevacizumab to combination chemotherapy in patients with recurrent, persistent or metastatic chemotherapy-naive disease results in a significant increase in OS. Considering the lack of therapeutic options in this difficult clinical setting, the inclusion of bevacizumab most likely will become a new standard for recurrent cervical cancer. In uterine sarcomas as very aggressive malignancies with a substantial need for better therapies the observed improved PFS with sorafenib warrants further investigation. No data showing a convincing improvement of survival in endometrial cancer have been presented yet. In view of the limited PFS and OS benefit observed with anti-angiogenics in gynecologic oncology, increased morbidity due to side effects of this treatment resulting in loss of quality of life and also substantial costs have to be taken into consideration. Thorough case selection based on molecular subgrouping of gynecologic cancers will therefore be a prerequisite for future anti-angiogenic therapy. This will require the integration of molecular diagnostics which still have to be developed and standardized.
Keywordsgynecologic cancers ovarian cancer cervical cancer endometrial cancer uterine sarcomas angiogenesis inhibitors bevacizumab tyrosine kinase inhibitors trebananib survival
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Bernd C. Schmid and Martin K. Oehler declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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