Current status and future directions of anti-angiogenic therapy for gliomas

Neuro Oncol. 2016 Mar;18(3):315-28. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nov180. Epub 2015 Oct 12.


Molecular targets for the pathological vasculature are the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF receptor axis, integrins, angiopoietins, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), as well as several intracellular or downstream effectors like protein kinase C beta and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Besides hypoxic damage or tumor cell starvation, preclinical models imply vessel independent tumor regression and suggest differential effects of anti-angiogenic treatments on tumorous and nontumorous precursor cells or the immune system. Despite compelling preclinical data and positive data in other cancers, the outcomes of clinical trials with anti-angiogenic agents in gliomas by and large have been disappointing and include VEGF blockage with bevacizumab, integrin inhibition with cilengitide, VEGF receptor inhibition with sunitinib or cediranib, PDGFR inhibition with imatinib or dasatinib, protein kinase C inhibition with enzastaurin, and mTOR inhibition with sirolimus, everolimus, or temsirolimus. Importantly, there is a lack of real understanding for this negative data. Anti-angiogenic therapies have stimulated the development of standardized imaging assessment and the integration of functional MRI sequences into daily practice. Here, we delineate directions in the identification of molecularly or image-based defined subgroups, anti-angiogenic cotreatment for immunotherapy, and the potential of ongoing trials or modified targets to change the game.

Trial registration: NCT01486329.

Keywords: angiogenesis; bevacizumab; cilengitide; evasive resistance; vascular normalization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A

Associated data