Rush studying antiangiogenic therapy to treat metastatic breast cancer

April 10, 2001

Breast cancer researchers at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago have begun testing a new therapy that targets the blood vessels that feed breast cancer tumors.

This new antiangiogenic therapy, called rhuMAb VEGF (recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody to vascular endothelial growth factor) seeks to block cancer's ability to form new blood vessels that feed the tumor.

Antiangiogenic therapy is a relatively new form of cancer treatment using drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors' that specifically halt new blood vessel growth and starve a tumor by cutting off its blood supply.

"If a tumor develops but has no blood supply, it will typically only grow to the size of a small pea," said principle investigator Dr. Melody Cobleigh, director of the Comprehensive Breast Center at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago.

However, if the tumor is not detected and treated, eventually a few cancer cells gain the ability to produce proteins known as angiogenic growth factors. These 'growth factors' are released by the tumor into nearby tissues and they stimulate new blood vessels to sprout from existing healthy blood vessels, into the tumor. The tumor is then able to rapidly expand in size.

Patients enrolled in the trial at Rush will be randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: one group will receive chemotherapy that is known to work against breast cancer. Another group will receive rhuMAb VEGF intravenously and chemotherapy.

RhuMAb VEGF was studied in women with breast cancer who had worsened on chemotherapy. Those early studies produced promising results. Researchers hope that by combining it with chemotherapy, they will get a better result than by using chemotherapy alone. The chemotherapy will attack the tumor while the rhuMAb VEGF will squeeze its blood supply.

Currently, approximately 20 anti-angiogenesis inhibitors are being tested in human cancer patients in clinical trials but there are no such drugs approved for clinical use by the Food and Drug Administration. Approximately 6,500 patients have taken one of these anti-angiogenic drugs to treat cancer.

Anti-angiogenesis inhibitors are also promising, according to the National Cancer Institute, because they are not as likely to cause bone marrow suppression, gastrointestinal symptoms, or hair loss -- symptoms characteristic of standard chemotherapy treatments. Additionally, these therapies target normal endothelial cells, which are genetically stable, so drug resistance may not develop. So far, resistance has not been a major problem in long-term animal studies or in preliminary clinical trials.
-end-
For more information about angiogenesis inhibitors, visit the National Cancer Insitutes' webpage at: http://cancertrials.nci.nih.gov/news/angio/fsangio.html.

Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center includes the 809-bed Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital; 154-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center for the Elderly; Rush University (Rush Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences and Graduate College); and seven Rush Institutes providing diagnosis, treatment and research into leading health problems. The medical center is the tertiary hub of the Rush System for Health, a comprehensive healthcare system capable of serving about two million people through its outpatient facilities and five member hospitals.

Rush University Medical Center

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.