Published: 11-07-2023 08:21 | Updated: 11-07-2023 08:22

Study finds a new biomarker that can effect therapy for the treatment of various cancers

KI researcher Yihai Cao and his research group at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, have defined a new biomarker for predicting drug resistance of antiangiogenic therapy for the treatment of various cancers. The study is published in PNAS.

Yihai Cao
Professor Yihai Cao Photo: Dr. Muyi Yang

The team has demonstrated that genetic mutations in cancer cells, may determine the therapeutic efficacy of drugs that target tumor blood vessels. The study also shows that simultaneous targeting of two angiogenic pathways in the KRAS-mutated cancers is an effective approach for the treatment of hard-to-treat cancers, including pancreatic cancer.

“This novel therapeutic approach is likely to benefit patients with various types of cancers. Antiangiogenic drugs often become resistant to the treatment of human patients with various cancers.  Unfortunately, the mechanisms of antiangiogenic drug resistance remain largely unknown. Understanding the mechanisms underlying antiangiogenic drug resistance would help us to improve therapeutic benefits in cancer patients. Our work shows that a genetic mutation in cancer cells is responsible for causing antiangiogenic drug resistance by switching on an alternative angiogenic pathway that avoids the targets of clinically available drugs,” says Yihai Cao.

“Thus, the development of new drugs that target this alternative angiogenic pathway is an attractive approach for cancer therapy.  Also, we propose a combination therapy of two antiangiogenic drugs with different principles that are very effective for the treatment of cancers that are resistant to one drug.  By defining genetic mutations that are responsible for antiangiogenic drugs, we are able to select a subpopulation of patients who are likely to benefit from antiangiogenic therapy. Therefore, our work also defines a new biomarker for selecting patients who are responsive to antiangiogenic drugs. On the basis of these results, we believe that our work is clinically meaningful and significant,“ says Yihai Cao.

“If these results are successfully translated into clinical practice, millions of cancer patients will benefit from our study. Hopefully, we will be able to collaborate with clinical oncologists to translate our findings into human cancer patients,” says Yihao Cao.

Read the article KRAS mutation-driven angiopoietin 2 bestows anti-VEGF resistance in epithelial carcinomas in PNAS here