Article Abstract

Challenges and opportunities of using stereotactic body radiotherapy with anti-angiogenesis agents in tumor therapy

Authors: Xiaowen Sun, Lei Deng, You Lu


Microvessels promote proliferation of tumor cells by delivering oxygen and nutrients, but rapid growth of tumors results in unmet demands for oxygen and nutrients, thereby creating a hypoxia microenvironment. Under hypoxic conditions, vascular endothelial cells (ECs) initiate the formation of immature and abnormal microvasculature. This results in leakage and tortuosity that facilitates tumor cell invasion, metastasis and resistance to cytotoxic treatment. Radiotherapy (RT) is a vital tumor treatment modality. Currently, more than 60% of patients with malignant tumors receive RT at certain points during their treatment. Hypoxia induced by abnormal microvessels can hamper the cytotoxic effect of ionizing radiation, particularly, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). Anti-angiogenesis (AA) agents are known to reduce and renormalize microvessels in tumors, and hence alleviate hypoxia. The combination of AA agents with SBRT may have a synergistic role in inhibiting the growth of tumors. On the contrary, large doses of irradiation may affect tumor microvessels itself. In this review, we aim to clarify the relationship between SBRT and microvessel formation in tumors. In addition, we provide a retrospective analysis of the combination therapy involving SBRT and AA agents in preclinical and clinical practice to define its role in anti-tumor treatment.

Keywords: Body radiotherapy, stereotactic; radiation effect; microvessel; agents, anti-angiogenetic