Angiogenesis, a hallmark of cancer, plays a fundamental role in colorectal cancer (CRC). Anti-angiogenic drugs and chemotherapy represent a standard of care for treating metastatic disease. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have changed the therapeutic algorithm of many solid tumors. However, the efficacy of ICIs is limited to mCRC patients carrying microsatellite instability (MSI-H), which represent approximately 3-5% of mCRC. Emerging evidence suggests that anti-angiogenic drugs could exhibit immunomodulatory properties. Thus, there is a strong rationale for combining anti-angiogenics and ICIs to improve efficacy in the metastatic setting. Our review summarizes the pre-clinical and clinical evidence regarding the combination of anti-angiogenics and ICIs in mCRC to deepen the possible application in daily clinical practice.
Keywords: CRC; ICIs; angiogenesis; anti-angiogenics; bevacizumab; colorectal cancer; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunotherapy; nivolumab; pembrolizumab.