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The potential of targeted antiangiogenesis therapies in the treatment of esophageal cancer

Authors Xu WW, Li B, Cheung A

Received 12 February 2015

Accepted for publication 20 March 2015

Published 29 April 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 79—88


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Eileen O'Reilly

Wen Wen Xu,1,2 Bin Li,1,2,3 Annie L M Cheung1,2,3

1Department of Anatomy, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, 2The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Institute of Research and Innovation (HKU-SIRI), 3Centre for Cancer Research, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China

Abstract: Esophageal cancer is one of the most lethal cancers worldwide and its incidence is increasing at an alarming rate. Despite advances in surgical techniques and combined multimodality therapy, the survival rate of esophageal cancer remains poor. Clearly, the time is ripe for introducing novel strategies such as targeted therapies to improve treatment outcome. The significance of angiogenesis and angiogenic factors in the progression and aggressiveness of esophageal cancer is well documented. However, although increasing numbers of antiangiogenic agents designed to inhibit angiogenesis through multiple mechanisms have been developed in the past few decades, and some of them have shown promising results in preclinical and clinical studies, there is as yet no antiangiogenic agent approved for esophageal cancer. This review provides a summary of angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, the molecular mechanisms that regulate these processes, and the strategies for targeting angiogenesis in tumors. We will also present the rationale and challenges of antiangiogenic therapy, and the antiangiogenic agents that have been tested in preclinical studies or clinical trials for esophageal cancer. With further research bringing a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in angiogenesis, and as new angiogenesis-targeting agents continue to evolve, there are reasons to be optimistic that targeting angiogenesis may bring new opportunities to cure this highly lethal disease.

Keywords: esophageal cancer, angiogenesis, vascular endothelial growth factor, targeted therapies

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