Immunomodulatory effects of anti-angiogenic drugs

Leukemia. 2011 Jun;25(6):899-905. doi: 10.1038/leu.2011.24. Epub 2011 Feb 25.


Much progress and significant therapeutic changes have been made in the field of tumor therapy in the past decades. Besides chemotherapy and radiotherapy, a special focus was laid on targeted therapies such as small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and other immunomodulatory drugs, which have become standard therapies and important combination partners in a variety of malignancies. In contrast to the widely established use of these often anti-angiogenic drugs, many functional molecular mechanisms are yet not completely understood. Recent analyses focused not only on their direct anti-tumor responses, but also on their influence on tumor microenvironment, as well as on their effects on malignant and healthy cells. Different anti-angiogenic compounds targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or platelet-derived growth factor pathways seem to be capable of modulating immune responses, in a positive, as well as apparently harmful manner. For an optimal clinical anti-cancer treatment, a better understanding of these immunomodulatory effects is necessary. Here we summarize recent reports on the immunomodulatory function of lately introduced clinically applied anti-angiogenic compounds, such as the humanized monoclonal antibody against VEGF bevacizumab, the small molecule TKIs sunitinib, sorafenib, imatinib, dasatinib, nilotinib and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / immunology
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunologic Factors