Revival of anti-angiogenic therapies in cancer

News from an old therapeutic concept—part 2
  • Andreas Pircher

Referring to the last issue presenting state of the art reviews [1] on the use of anti-angiogenic drugs in colorectal [2], urological [3, 4] and breast cancer [5] as well as in angiosarcomas [6], the present issue extends the topic to additional angiogenesis-dependent malignancies. Hereby, ovarian cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represent two highly vascularized tumor entities where anti-angiogenic therapies form a robust backbone for the treatment of advanced stage disease mostly in combination with chemotherapy or newer therapeutic therapies.

Vanderstichele et al. [7] summarize the use of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors in ovarian cancer and discuss important advances related to treatment duration, continuation beyond progression as well as optimal combination partners for anti-angiogenic therapies. Furthermore, the future clinical development of angiogenesis inhibitors in combination with PARP inhibitors, immune checkpoint inhibitors and vascular disrupting agents will be highlighted and this opens new perspectives for the treatment of advanced stage ovarian cancer. Next Daher et al. [8] present the most recent advances on the use of anti-angiogenic therapies in the treatment of advanced stage NSCLC. Thereby, the authors critically discuss the strengths and shortcomings seen with anti-angiogenic therapies and that the high expectations in these therapies could not be fulfilled. Nevertheless, combinational approaches of anti-angiogenic therapies with second-line chemotherapy proved efficacy and reached their primary clinical endpoints. However, whether the observed benefit is clinically meaningful remains questionable and new developments as how anti-angiogenic might induce tumor vessel normalization will be discussed. Cancer patients and especial NSCLC patients present or often develop symptomatic or asymptomatic brain metastasis, which pose an enormous oncological challenge. Therapeutic options for patients with brain metastasis are limited and Berghoff et al. [9] summarize the rational and clinical evidence using anti-angiogenic therapies in this indication.

To summarize, all three articles provide an up-to-date review of the research and literature concerning anti-angiogenic therapies in these tumor entities. We therefore hope that this second part of the special issue will further help the readers to understand the underlying complex biology and challenges in developing successful anti-angiogenic therapies as well as to get first insights into future perspectives of combinational therapy approaches.


Conflict of interest

A. Pircher declares that he has no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Internal Medicine V, Department of Hematology and OncologyMedical University of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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