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Evaluation of Angiopoietin-2 as a biomarker in gastric cancer: results from the randomised phase III AVAGAST trial

Hacker UT, Escalona-Espinosa L, Consalvo N, Goede V, Schiffmann L, Scherer SJ, et al

Br J Cancer. 2016 Apr 12;114(8):855-62



In the phase III AVAGAST trial, the addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy improved progression-free survival (PFS) but not overall survival (OS) in patients with advanced gastric cancer. We studied the role of Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), a key driver of tumour angiogenesis, metastasis and resistance to antiangiogenic treatment, as a biomarker.


Previously untreated, advanced gastric cancer patients were randomly assigned to receive bevacizumab (n=387) or placebo (n=387) in combination with chemotherapy. Plasma collected at baseline and at progression was analysed by ELISA. The role of Ang-2 as a prognostic and a predictive biomarker of bevacizumab efficacy was studied using a Cox proportional hazards model. Logistic regression analysis was applied for correlations with metastasis.


Median baseline plasma Ang-2 levels were lower in Asian (2143 pg ml(-1)) vs non-Asian patients (3193 pg ml(-1)), P<0.0001. Baseline plasma Ang-2 was identified as an independent prognostic marker for OS but did not predict bevacizumab efficacy alone or in combination with baseline VEGF. Baseline plasma Ang-2 correlated with the frequency of liver metastasis (LM) at any time: Odds ratio per 1000 pg ml(-1) increase: 1.19; 95% CI 1.10-1.29; P<0.0001 (non-Asians) and 1.37; 95% CI 1.13-1.64; P=0.0010 (Asians).


Baseline plasma Ang-2 is a novel prognostic biomarker for OS in advanced gastric cancer strongly associated with LM. Differences in Ang-2 mediated vascular response may, in part, account for outcome differences between Asian and non-Asian patients; however, data have to be further validated. Ang-2 is a promising drug target in gastric cancer.

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