New approaches in angiogenic targeting for colorectal cancer

World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Nov 28;13(44):5857-66. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v13.i44.5857.


Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide. In the last decade, the addition of irinotecan and oxaliplatin to standard fluorouracil-based chemotherapy regimens have set the new benchmark of survival for patients with metastatic CRC at approximately 20 mo. Despite these advances in the management of CRC, there is a strong medical need for more effective and well-tolerated therapies. The dependence of tumor growth and metastasis on blood vessels makes angiogenesis a rational target for therapy. One of the major pathways involved in this process is the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors (VEGFR). In 2004, the first agent targeting angiogenesis, bevacizumab (BV), was approved as an adjunct to first-line cytotoxic treatment of metastatic CRC. The role of BV as part of adjuvant treatment and in combination with other targeted therapies is the subject of ongoing trials. However, BV is associated with an increase in the risk of arterial thromboembolic events, hypertension and gastrointestinal perforations and its use must be cautious. Novel VEGFR TK inhibitors with different ranges of nanomolar potencies, selectivities, and pharmacokinetic properties are entering phase III trials for the treatment of cancer. Conversely, one of these novel agents, vatalanib, has been shown not to confer survival benefit in first and second-line treatment of advanced CRC. The basis of these findings is being extensively evaluated. Ongoing and new well-designed trials will define the optimal clinical application of the actual antiangiogenic agents, and, on the other hand, intensive efforts in basic research will identify new agents with different antiangiogenic approaches for the treatment of CRC. In this review we discuss and highlight current and future approaches in angiogenic targeting for CRC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / physiopathology
  • Phthalazines / therapeutic use
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / drug effects
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / physiology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / drug effects
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / physiology


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Phthalazines
  • Pyridines
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Bevacizumab
  • vatalanib
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor