PHILADELPHIA – Adding another inhibitor to therapies that cut off a tumor’s access to blood vessels could be the key to helping those therapies overcome resistance in glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer. Drugs that target the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) – a signaling protein that stimulates the formation of blood vessels – are available but have yet to show an overall survival benefit in many malignant cancers. Now researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have shown the key may lie in adding an additional inhibitor that blocks the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), which regulates cell growth and division. The study not only identifies PDGF as a combination target for anti-VEGF therapies, but it also shows that pairing makes tumors more sensitive to anti-VEGF therapies in mice. Nature Communications published the findings today.
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be almost 24,000 diagnoses of malignant glioblastoma in the United States in 2018. It is the most common and most aggressive primary brain tumor, and patients have a median survival of about 14 months. One treatment approach involves targeting VEGF – most commonly with the drug bevacizumab -, with the idea
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