Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Efficacy of plasma vascular endothelial growth factor in monitoring first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer

Sachin Kumar1, Randeep Guleria1*, Vikas Singh1, Alok C Bharti2, Anant Mohan1 and Bhudev C Das3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Ansari Nagar, New Delhi-110029, India

2 Division of Molecular Oncology, Institute of Cytology and Preventive Oncology, I-7, Sector-39, Noida, Uttar Pardesh-201301, India

3 Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Delhi (North Campus), Delhi-110007, India

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:421  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-421

Published: 3 December 2009

Abstract

Background

Along with the development of new cancer therapeutics, more effective tools for the estimation of response to therapy and prediction of disease progression are required for the better management of inoperable cancer patients.

Methods

We studied 134 newly diagnosed and primarily untreated advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients and 100 controls. Forty two patients received platinum-based chemotherapy. Plasma VEGF levels were quantified in all samples at baseline and also before second and third chemotherapy cycle in 42 patients and correlated with response to therapy as assessed by computed tomography after the third chemotherapy cycle.

Results

We observed that, patients who went into remission had significantly lower baseline VEGF levels before second and third cycles of chemotherapy when compared with patients with no change and progression. Plasma VEGF levels showed a greater decrease from cycle 1 to 2 and from cycle 1 to 3 in patients who showed remission in comparison to those with no change or progression. Plasma VEGF levels before the second cycle detected poor response to therapy with a sensitivity and specificity of 76.9% and 75.0%, respectively (area under the ROC curve = 0.724). Early prediction of disease progression was achieved with a sensitivity and specificity of 71.4% for plasma VEGF before cycle 2 (area under the ROC curve = 0.805). The kinetics of VEGF form cycle 1 to 2 and cycle 1 to 3 also gave significant information for predicting disease progression as well as insufficient therapy response.

Conclusion

Monitoring of plasma VEGF levels during the course of first-line chemotherapy could identify patients who are likely to have insufficient response to therapy and disease progression at an early stage. This may help in individualizing treatment and could lead to better management of the advanced stage lung cancer.