Plasma Tie2 trajectories identify vascular response criteria for VEGF inhibitors across advanced biliary tract, colorectal and ovarian cancers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Alison Backen
  • John A. Bridgewater
  • Caroline Dive


Background: Vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors (VEGFi) are compromised by a lack of validated biomarkers. Previously we showed that changes in the concentration of plasma Tie2 (pTie2) was a response biomarker for bevacizumab. Here, we investigated whether pTie2 can predict response and progression cross-tumour for generic VEGFi treatment. Patients and methods: Patients (n = 124) with advanced biliary tract cancer (ABC) received cisplatin/gemcitabine with cediranib or placebo (ABC-03 trial). Concentrations of pTie2 were measured longitudinally from before treatment until disease progression. Data from patients with ovarian cancer (n = 92, ICON7 trial) and patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) (n = 70, Travastin trial) were also included. Results: Cediranib-treated ABC patients were deconvoluted into distinct groups where in one group pTie2 trajectories resembled those seen in placebo-treated patients and in another pTie2 significantly reduced (t-test P = 2.7 × 10 −14). Using the 95% confidence interval for these two groups, we defined a vascular complete response (vCR) as a 24% reduction in pTie2 within 9 weeks; vascular no response (vNR) as a 7% increase in pTie2, and a vascular partial response (between these limits). vCR cediranib-treated patients had significantly improved progression-free survival (8.8 versus 7.5 months, restricted mean ratio 0.73, P = 0.012) and overall survival (18.8 versus 12.1 months, hazard ratio 0.49, P = 0.02). By integrating data across ovarian cancer, CRC and ABC, we show that (i) patients with vNR do not benefit from VEGFi and (ii) Tie2-defined vascular progression occurs sufficiently in advance of radiological progressive disease that changes in treatment could be offered to prevent clinical deterioration. Conclusion: pTie2 is the first cross-tumour, generic VEGFi, vascular response biomarker to guide optimum use of VEGFi in clinical practice.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number100417
JournalESMO Open
Issue number2
Early online date10 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022