Tumor growth is dependent on angiogenesis. This process is driven by the release of pro-angiogenic signals, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and facilitates tumor growth and increases metastatic potential. Angiogenesis is dependent on VEGF, the most potent and predominant pro-angiogenic factor that binds to receptors on the surface of endothelial cells.
Bevacizumab (Avastin®) is an antiangiogenesis drug, used in molecular targeted therapy to stop tumors from making new blood vessels. This monoclonal antibody binds directly to VEGF and prevents the interaction of VEGF with its receptors VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2. This results in a direct inhibition of angiogenesis, reduction of microvascular growth and inhibition of metastatic disease.
Bevacizumab also causes existing vessels to regress, leaving the vasculature unable to support tumor growth.
Bevacizumab is approved for use against metastatic colorectal cancer (in combination with 5-fluorouracil based chemotherapy), metastatic breast cancer and lung cancer.
Common side effects of this drug are hypertension, proteinuria and bleeding
For more information refer to the european assessement report on bevacizumab.