Despite advancements in therapy for advanced gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers, their prognosis remains dismal. Tumor angiogenesis plays a key role in cancer growth and metastasis, and recent studies indicate that pharmacologic blockade of angiogenesis is a promising approach to therapy. In this systematic review, we summarize current literature on the clinical benefit of anti-angiogenic agents in advanced gastric cancer. We conducted a systematic search of PubMed and conference proceedings including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the European Society for Medical Oncology, and the European Cancer Congress. Included studies aimed to prospectively evaluate the efficacy and safety of anti-angiogenic agents in advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer. Each trial investigated at least one of the following endpoints: overall survival, progression-free survival/time to progression, and/or objective response rate. Our search yielded 139 publications. Forty-two met the predefined inclusion criteria. Included studies reported outcomes with apatinib, axitinib, bevacizumab, orantinib, pazopanib, ramucirumab, regorafenib, sorafenib, sunitinib, telatinib, and vandetanib. Second-line therapy with ramucirumab and third-line therapy with apatinib are the only anti-angiogenic agents so far shown to significantly improve survival of patients with advanced gastric cancer. Overall, agents that specifically target the vascular endothelial growth factor ligand or receptor have better safety profile compared to multi-target tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Keywords: Angiogenesis inhibitors; Esophagogastric junction; Stomach neoplasms; Vascular endothelial growth factors.