Novel predictive biomarkers are needed to improve patient selection and optimize the use of bevacizumab (B) in metastatic colorectal cancer. We analyzed the potential of five circulating biomarkers to predict B efficacy and monitor response. Peripheral blood samples collected at baseline, at the first clinical evaluation and at progression were available for 129 patients enrolled in the prospective multicentric ITACa trial and randomized to receive FOLFOX4/FOLFIRI (CT) with (64 patients) or without B (65 patients). VEGF-A, eNOS, EPHB4, COX2 and HIF-1α mRNA levels were measured by qRT-PCR. Baseline marker expression levels and their modulation during therapy were analyzed in relation to objective response, progression-free survival and overall survival (OS). VEGF and eNOS expression was significantly correlated in both groups (Spearman's correlation coefficient = 0.80; P < 0.0001 and 0.75; P < 0.0001, respectively). B-treated patients with >30% reduction in eNOS and VEGF levels from baseline to the first clinical evaluation showed better OS than the others (median OS 31.6 months, 95% CI 21.3-49.5 months and median OS 14.4 months, 95% CI 9.0-22.7 months, respectively, HR 0.38, 95% CI 0.19-0.78, P = 0.008). A reduction in eNOS and VEGF expression from baseline to the first clinical evaluation may indicate a response to B.
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