Diagnostic tests / Diagnostics Industry / Disease States

Hypertension caused by VEGF-inhibiting treatment

Hypertension caused by VEGF-inhibiting treatmentAngiogenesis is known to aid the progression of solid tumours as it creates a blood supply to the growing tumour, which may only grow a few millimetres in size without this. For this reason many cancer drugs focus on inhibiting the production of VEGF. However a recent review article published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology has noted that almost 100% of patients taking VEFG inhibitors have increased blood pressure, with a smaller number of patients developing hypertension.

The  underlying mechanisms implicating VEGF inhibitors and hypertension is not understood, however investigators noted “ what is clear is that inhibition of VEGF in the vasculature directly increases blood pressure because hypertension develops acutely in response to VEGF inhibitors and blood pressure returns to normal once the treatment is stopped”. Investigators also remarked that patients increased blood pressure was not a ‘side-effect’ of the treatment, but that it occurs as mechanism-dependant on-target toxicity.

The study suggests that if patients experience severe hypertension it may require a reduction of medicated dose, or an interruption to treatment; however as the findings suggest patients’ blood pressure returns to normal upon completion of treatment it was recommended that they are monitored, and any short-term morbidity associated with hypertension be minimised whilst maintaining an effective antiangiogenic therapy to help cure the cancer (commonly with calcium channel blockers).

These findings show clinical importance as more potent VEGF inhibitors are developed then more cancer patients may experience sever hypertension; this research allows clinicians to be aware that ‘at risk’ groups such as the elderly or those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease should be closely monitored.

Reference:  Canadian Journal of Cardiology http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0828282X14001056


The Randox Research division offers a high quality Cytokine Array I, allowing researchers to simultaneously measure VEGF with other cytokines, chemokines and growth factors, all on one multiplex array. Alternatively custom arrays can be created, allowing researchers to custom choose from over 300 biomarkers associated with cardiovascular and oncology studies. For more information, visit www.randox.com  or email: research@randox.com

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