Bevacizumab improves survival outcomes in women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Pre-clinical data showed that the c-MET/VEGFR-2 heterocomplex negates VEGF inhibition through activation of c-MET signalling, leading to a more invasive and metastatic phenotype. We evaluated the clinical significance of c-MET and VEGFR-2 co-localisation and its association with VEGF pathway-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in women participating in the phase 3 trial, ICON7 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00262847).
Materials and methods
Patients had FIGO stage I-IIA grade 3/poorly differentiated or clear cell carcinoma or stage IIB-IV epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer. Immunofluorescence staining for co-localised c-MET and VEGFR-2 on tissue microarrays and genotyping of germline DNA from peripheral blood leukocytes for VEGFA and VEGFR-2 SNPs was performed. The significance of these biomarkers was assessed against survival.
Tissue microarrays from 178 women underwent immunofluorescence staining. Multivariable analysis showed that greater c-MET/VEGFR-2 co-localisation predicted worse OS in patients treated with bevacizumab after adjusting for FIGO stage and debulking surgery outcome (hazard ratio [HR] 1.034, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.010–1.059). Women in the c-MET/VEGFR-2HIGH group treated with bevacizumab demonstrated significantly reduced OS (39.3 versus > 60 months; HR 2.00, 95%CI 1.08–3.72). Germline DNA from 449 women underwent genotyping. In the bevacizumab group, those women with the VEGFR-2 rs2305945 G/G variant had a trend towards shorter PFS compared with G/T or T/T variants (18.3 versus 23.0 months; HR 0.74, 95%CI 0.53–1.03).
In bevacizumab-treated women diagnosed with EOC, high c-MET/VEGFR-2 co-localisation on tumour tissue and the VEGFR-2 rs2305945 G/G variant, which may be biologically related, were associated with worse survival outcomes.
Tissue microarrays and germline DNA from women recruited to the phase 3 trial, ICON7, underwent quantitative immunofluorescence for c-MET/VEGFR-2 co-expression and genetic sequencing for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) VEGF-pathway genes.
High c-MET/VEGFR-2 co-localisation on tumour tissue independently predicted worse survival in bevacizumab-treated epithelial ovarian cancer.
The VEGFR-2 rs2305945 SNPs also independently predict worse survival in bevacizumab-treated epithelial ovarian cancer.
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester Cancer Research Centre