the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Lung
NIH Cancer Center Support
ARTICLE ABSTRACTPurpose: VEGF pathway inhibitors have been investigated as therapeutic agents in the treatment of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) because of its central role in angiogenesis. These agents have improved survival in patients with advanced NSCLC, but the effects have been modest. Although VEGFR2/KDR is typically localized to the vasculature, amplification of KDR has reported to occur in 9% to 30% of the DNA from different lung cancers. We investigated the signaling pathways activated downstream of KDR and whether KDR amplification is associated with benefit in patients with NSCLC treated with the VEGFR inhibitor vandetanib.Methods: NSCLC cell lines with or without KDR amplification were studied for the effects of VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) on cell viability and migration. Archival tumor samples collected from patients with platinum-refractory NSCLC in the phase III ZODIAC study of vandetanib plus docetaxel or placebo plus docetaxel (N = 294) were screened for KDR amplification by FISH.Results: KDR amplification was associated with VEGF-induced activation of mTOR, p38, and invasiveness in NSCLC cell lines. However, VEGFR TKIs did not inhibit proliferation of NSCLC cell lines with KDR amplification. VEGFR inhibition decreased cell motility as well as expression of HIF1α in KDR-amplified NSCLC cells. In the ZODIAC study, KDR amplification was observed in 15% of patients and was not associated with improved progression-free survival, overall survival, or objective response rate for the vandetanib arm.Conclusions: Preclinical studies suggest KDR activates invasion but not survival pathways in KDR-amplified NSCLC models. Patients with NSCLC whose tumor had KDR amplification were not associated with clinical benefit for vandetanib in combination with docetaxel. Clin Cancer Res; 22(8); 1940–50. ©2015 AACR.