Antiangiogenic agents and targets: A perspective

Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Jan 1;81(1):6-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2010.09.023. Epub 2010 Oct 12.


The first generation of clinically useful antiangiogenic agents focused on VEGF and targets in the VEGF pathway. The strengths and limitations of these therapeutics are now clear. Some tumors do not respond to VEGF-directed therapies de novo and others become non-responsive or resistant over time by switching to other angiogenic pathways. The next generation of angiogenesis-directed therapeutics will expand the field beyond the VEGF pathway and become more disease selective. Placental growth factor, a protein closely related to VEGF, is induced as tumors lose responsiveness to VEGF-directed therapies. Angiopoietins 1 and 2 are being targeted with a unique peptibody, a human recombinant Fc constant region fused to peptides, in clinical trials. The HGF/c-Met pathway is upregulated in some tumors as an alternate angiogenic pathway. The CXCL12 (SDF-1)/CXCR4 pathway represents a stromal chemokine axis involved in tumor angiogenesis. CXCR2 is a G-protein coupled receptor with several ligands including interleukin-8 and other angiogenic cytokines and may represent a useful target for antiangiogenic agents. The notch pathway is being investigated as a target in the setting of tumor angiogenesis. Sphingosine-1-phosphate is a bioactive lipid that can be neutralized with a monoclonal antibody. The anti-S-1-P antibody is under investigation as an antiangiogenic agent. Finally, several multi-targeted kinase inhibitors each with a unique pattern of inhibitory potency are in clinical trial with a focus on antiangiogenic activity. The expansion of the scope of potential antiangiogenic agents in or entering clinical trial should allow the development of antiangiogenic combination regimens and single agents that address diseases refractory to VEGF-directed therapeutics.

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal