Efficacy, safety, and biomarkers of neoadjuvant bevacizumab, radiation therapy, and fluorouracil in rectal cancer: a multidisciplinary phase II study.
PURPOSE: To assess the safety and efficacy of neoadjuvant bevacizumab with standard chemoradiotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer and explore biomarkers for response. PATIENTS AND METHODS: In a phase I/II study, 32 patients received four cycles of therapy consisting of: bevacizumab infusion (5 or 10 mg/kg) on day 1 of each cycle; fluorouracil infusion (225 mg/m(2)/24 hours) during cycles 2 to 4; external-beam irradiation (50.4 Gy in 28 fractions over 5.5 weeks); and surgery 7 to 10 weeks after completion of all therapies. We measured molecular, cellular, and physiologic biomarkers before treatment, during bevacizumab monotherapy, and during and after combination therapy. RESULTS: Tumors regressed from a mass with mean size of 5 cm (range, 3 to 12 cm) to an ulcer/scar with mean size of 2.4 cm (range, 0.7 to 6.0 cm) in all 32 patients. Histologic examination revealed either no cancer or varying numbers of scattered cancer cells in a bed of fibrosis at the primary site. This treatment resulted in an actuarial 5-year local control and overall survival of 100%. Actuarial 5-year disease-free survival was 75% and five patients developed metastases postsurgery. Bevacizumab with chemoradiotherapy showed acceptable toxicity. Bevacizumab decreased tumor interstitial fluid pressure and blood flow. Baseline plasma soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (sVEGFR1), plasma vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), placental-derived growth factor (PlGF), and interleukin 6 (IL-6) during treatment, and circulating endothelial cells (CECs) after treatment showed significant correlations with outcome. CONCLUSION: Bevacizumab with chemoradiotherapy appears safe and active and yields promising survival results in locally advanced rectal cancer. Plasma VEGF, PlGF, sVEGFR1, and IL-6 and CECs should be further evaluated as candidate biomarkers of response for this regimen.
Willett, CG; Duda, DG; di Tomaso, E; Boucher, Y; Ancukiewicz, M; Sahani, DV; Lahdenranta, J; Chung, DC; Fischman, AJ; Lauwers, GY; Shellito, P; Czito, BG; Wong, TZ; Paulson, E; Poleski, M; Vujaskovic, Z; Bentley, R; Chen, HX; Clark, JW; Jain, RK
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