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Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related death. Bevacizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody developed against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) for the treatment of metastatic cancer. The parameters of RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria for Solid Tumors) are not adequate to detect important treatment effects and response. Our goal was to evaluate the possibility of using sTRAIL (serum-soluble TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) and VEGF as markers of treatment efficacy and prognosis in patients with metastatic colon cancer.
sTRAIL and VEGF levels were measured by ELISA in the sera of 16 bevacizumab-treated metastatic colon cancer patients and 10 presumably healthy age-matched controls. The measurements were taken before and after treatment for comparison purposes.
Elevated levels of sTRAIL were found in seven out of 16 patients after bevacizumab treatment. Although these patients had a median survival time of 20.6 months, the remaining bevacizumab-treated patients who did not show an increase in sTRAIL had a median survival time of 9.4 months. As expected, serum VEGF levels were decreased in all patients who received bevacizumab therapy and showed no correlation between serum VEGF levels and patient survival (data not shown).
Serum sTRAIL levels might be a useful predictor of prognosis in metastatic colon cancer, in the early evaluation stages following bevacizumab treatment.