In search of novel biomarkers of response to bevacizumab in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), we analyzed the expression and prognostic role of several proteins related to angiogenesis.
A retrospective, multicenter study on 80 surgical samples from mCRC patients treated in first line with bevacizumab plus chemotherapy was accomplished. The following proteins were analyzed by immunohistochemistry: hERG1 potassium channel, β1-integrin, pAKT, NFkB, HIF-1α, HIF-2α, p53, VEGF-A, GLUT-1, and CA-IX. Data were analyzed in conjunction with the clinicopathological characteristics of the patients, KRAS status, response to bevacizumab, and follow-up.
(1) All the proteins were expressed in the samples, with statistically significant associations between HIF-1α and gender, HIF-2α and left colon, hERG1 and VEGF-A, β1-integrin and HIF-2α, GLUT-1 and both HIF-1α and HIF-2α, and CA-IX and VEGF-A. (2) At the univariate analysis, positivity for hERG1, VEGF-A, and the active form of HIF-2α (aHIF-2α), and the G3 histological grade showed a positive impact on progression-free survival (PFS). (3) hERG1 and aHIF-2α maintained their positive impact on PFS at the multivariate analysis. (4) hERG1 behaved as a protective factor for PFS independently on KRAS status.
hERG1 and aHIF-2α might help to identify patients who would benefit from bevacizumab treatment.

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