Beyond bevacizumab: new anti-VEGF strategies in colorectal cancer

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2012 Jul;21(7):949-59. doi: 10.1517/13543784.2012.689287. Epub 2012 May 22.


Introduction: Treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) has changed dramatically over the past decade, mainly due to the advent of molecularly targeted agents. In particular, an improved understanding of the role of the angiogenesis pathway in CRC has led to advancements in treatment. Bevacizumab has been shown to improve the progression-free survival and overall survival when combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy in patients with metastatic CRC (mCRC) and at present is the only antiangiogenesis agent approved for the treatment of this cancer.

Areas covered: In this review, the authors outline the most recent data on the VEGF signaling pathway and on new therapeutic reagents that target it, provide insight into their mechanisms, and describe results from recent clinical trials.

Expert opinion: In the new decade of 'modern therapy', an increasing number of antiangiogenic agents for the treatment of mCRC are being tested in preclinical models, and dozens of studies on these drugs are ongoing. Presently, eight novel antiangiogenic agents are in Phase III trials and a wide range of other candidates are being tested in Phase I/II trials. Given the preliminary positive results of two recent Phase III trials, aflibercept and regorafenib, probably, will be new-targeted agents approved for the treatment of mCRC. Furthermore, the list of potentially approved agents seems to increase in the next years and to maximize their potential clinical impact, is critically important to introduce efficient molecular diagnostic methodologies into the drug development process to indentify the subset of patients who would benefit most from their use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Bevacizumab
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Bevacizumab