Author(s): Herbst RS, Onn A, Sandler A
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death worldwide, with most patients dying with metastatic disease. The prognosis for the majority of patients remains poor. It is evident that advances in the treatment of this and other tumor types will require new approaches, and recent research has focused on molecular-targeted therapies. A key therapeutic strategy is inhibition of specific processes essential for tumor vascular development (a concept known to be beneficial in colorectal cancer) and a range of such antiangiogenic agents are currently in development. The most promising of these target the proangiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), either by preventing VEGF-receptor binding or inhibiting downstream receptor signaling. However, other more direct approaches against tumor vasculature are also in development. Since antiangiogenic agents often exert an indirect, cytostatic effect, many are being evaluated in combination with conventional chemotherapies in order to optimize the anticancer effects of both strategies. Additionally, the combination of several antiangiogenic agents is also being explored. This has become possible given the large number of agents currently available. As part of this evaluation process, the assessment of surrogate markers of target inhibition and treatment effect is ongoing in the hope of identifying reliable surrogate markers to aid the development of this new generation of anticancer agents.