Impact of Exploratory Biomarkers on the Treatment Effect of Bevacizumab in Metastatic Breast Cancer

Nuffield Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Clinical Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 8.72). 01/2011; 17(2):372-81. DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-1791
Source: PubMed


The addition of bevacizumab to cytotoxic chemotherapy has demonstrated a progression-free survival (PFS) benefit in the first-line and second-line treatment of advanced or metastatic breast cancer (MBC). However, the addition of bevacizumab to capecitabine in heavily pretreated MBC patients did not show a PFS benefit (AVF2119g phase III trial). The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of novel putative biomarkers as predictors of benefit from bevacizumab in retrospective subset analyses of the AVF2119g trial.
In the AVF2119g trial, 462 patients with MBC were randomly assigned to receive capecitabine or capecitabine plus bevacizumab. Primary tumor tissue and outcome data were available for 223 patients. Biomarker expression was assessed by in situ hybridization (VEGF-A, VEGF-B, thrombospondin-2 and Flt4) or immunohistochemistry (VEGF-C, PDGF-C, neuropilin-1, delta-like ligand (Dll) 4, Bv8, p53 and thymidine phosphorylase) on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue. PFS was associated with these variables in retrospective subset analyses.
Patients with low scores for Dll4, VEGF-C, and neuropilin-1 showed trends toward improvement in PFS associated with the addition of bevacizumab to capecitabine (P values = 0.01, 0.05, and 0.07, respectively). These observations were not statistically significant following correction for multiple hypothesis testing.
These retrospective subset analyses suggest that expression of Dll4, VEGF-C, and neuropilin-1 may predict benefit from bevacizumab. Such observations are not conclusive but warrant additional testing.

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    • "However, it would not be expected to benefit from an anti-VEGFA therapy; instead, a different target would be needed to inhibit angiogenesis. This is supported by a report that low IHC staining of VEGFC and NRP1 is associated with improved progression-free survival in patients receiving bevacizumab, while the level of VEGFA was not associated with changes in progression-free survival [56]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) are difficult to treat due to a lack of targets and heterogeneity. Inhibition of angiogenesis is a promising therapeutic strategy, but has had limited effectiveness so far in breast cancer. To quantify heterogeneity in angiogenesis-related gene expression in breast cancer, we focused on two families - VEGFs and semaphorins - that compete for neuropilin co-receptors on endothelial cells. We compiled microarray data for over 2,600 patient tumor samples and analyzed the expression of VEGF- and semaphorin-related ligands and receptors. We used principal component analysis to identify patterns of gene expression, and clustering to group samples according to these patterns. We used available survival data to determine whether these clusters had prognostic as well as therapeutic relevance. TNBC was highly associated with dysregulation of VEGF- and semaphorin-related genes; in particular, it appeared that expression of both VEGF and semaphorin genes were altered in a pro-angiogenesis direction. A pattern of high VEGFA expression with low expression of secreted semaphorins was associated with 60% of triple-negative breast tumors. While all TNBC groups demonstrated poor prognosis, this signature also correlated with lower 5-year survival rates in non-TNBC samples. A second TNBC pattern, including high VEGFC expression, was also identified. These pro-angiogenesis signatures may identify cancers that are more susceptible to VEGF inhibition.
    PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e61788. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0061788 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "A retrospective analysis of tumour tissue samples from the AVF2119g trial of capecitabine with or without bevacizumab in heavily pretreated patients with LR/mBC showed a weak prognostic but not a predictive effect of tumour VEGF-A expression (Jubb et al, 2011). However, low expression of neuropilin-1, thymidine phosphorylase, VEGF-C, and delta-like ligand 4 showed trends towards increased PFS benefit with bevacizumab (Jubb et al, 2011). Similar findings for neuropilin-1 have been reported in two trials of bevacizumab in gastric cancer (AVAGAST) (Ohtsu et al, 2011) and colorectal cancer (NO16966) (Saltz et al, 2008), in which low neuropilin expression was associated with greater bevacizumab treatment effect (Foernzler et al, 2010; Van Cutsem et al, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Combining bevacizumab with first-line chemotherapy significantly improves progression-free survival (PFS) in HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer (mBC). However, identification of patients benefitting most from bevacizumab remains elusive. The AVADO trial included an extensive optional exploratory biomarker programme. Methods: Patients with HER2-negative mBC were randomised to receive docetaxel with placebo or bevacizumab. The primary end point was PFS. Plasma samples were analysed using a multiplex ELISA. Blood mRNA expression was assessed using quantitative PCR. Tumour tissue samples were analysed by immunohistochemistry. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) involved in the VEGF pathway were analysed in germline DNA. Results: Samples for biomarker analysis were available from 24–54% of the 736 treated patients (depending on specimen type). The most consistent potential predictive effect was observed with plasma VEGF-A and VEGFR-2; high baseline concentrations were associated with greater treatment effect. Blood mRNA analyses suggested a greater bevacizumab effect in patients with high VEGF121. No consistent predictive effect was seen for tumour neuropilin or other candidate tumour markers by immunohistochemistry, or for any of the SNPs investigated. Conclusion: Plasma VEGF-A and VEGFR-2 are potential predictive markers for bevacizumab efficacy, supporting findings in gastric and pancreatic cancers. Plasma VEGF-A is being evaluated prospectively in mBC in the MERiDiAN trial.
    British Journal of Cancer 02/2013; 108(5). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2013.69 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    • "Several interesting candidate biomarkers for anti-angiogenic therapies have been evaluated in recent translational research studies and many are currently under investigation in prospective clinical trials. A recent report has shed some light on this issue by exploring biomarkers of the VEGF family for their possible effect on bevacizumab [43]. Results were only indicative that patients with low VEGF-C, among other markers, show trends toward improvement in progression-free survival associated with the addition of bevacizumab to capecitabine. "
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    ABSTRACT: The main prognostic variables in early breast cancer are tumor size, histological grade, estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor (ER/PgR) status, number of positive nodes and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status. The present study evaluated the prognostic and/or predictive value of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family members in high-risk early breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemo-hormonotherapy. RNA was isolated from 308 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded primary tumor samples from breast cancer patients enrolled in the HE10/97 trial, evaluating adjuvant dose-dense sequential chemotherapy with epirubicin followed by cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, fluorouracil (CMF) with or without paclitaxel (E-T-CMF versus E-CMF). A fully automated method based on magnetic beads was applied for RNA extraction, followed by one-step quantitative RT-PCR for mRNA analysis of VEGF-A, -B, -C and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) 1, 2, 3. With a median follow-up of 8 years, 109 patients (35%) developed a relapse and 80 patients (26%) died. In high VEGF-C and VEGFR1 mRNA expressing tumors, ER/PgR-negative tumors (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.001 and P = 0.021, respectively) and HER2-positive tumors (P <0.001 and P = 0.028, respectively) were more frequent than in low VEGF-C and VEGFR1 expressing tumors, respectively. From the VEGF family members evaluated, high VEGFR1 mRNA expression (above the 75th percentile) emerged as a significant negative prognostic factor for overall survival (OS; hazard ratio (HR) = 1.60, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01 to 2.55, Wald's P = 0.047) and disease-free survival (DFS; HR = 1.67, 95% CI: 1.13 to 2.48, P = 0.010), when adjusting for treatment group. High VEGF-C mRNA expression was predictive for benefit from adjuvant treatment with paclitaxel (E-T-CMF arm) for OS (test for interaction, Wald's P = 0.038), while in multivariate analysis the interaction of VEGF-C with taxane treatment was significant for both OS (Wald's P = 0.019) and DFS (P = 0.041) and continuous VEGF-B mRNA expression values for OS (P = 0.019). The present study reports, for the first time, that VEGF-C mRNA overexpression, as assessed by qRT-PCR, has a strong predictive value in high-risk early breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant paclitaxel-containing treatment. Further studies are warranted to validate the prognostic and/or predictive value of VEGF-B, VEGF-C and VEGFR1 in patients treated with adjuvant therapies and to reveal which members of the VEGF family could possibly be useful markers in identifying patients who will benefit most from anti-VEGF strategies. Trial registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12611000506998
    Breast cancer research: BCR 11/2012; 14(6):R145. DOI:10.1186/bcr3354 · 5.49 Impact Factor
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