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Vol. 79, No. 3-4, 2010
Issue release date: March 2011

Immunological Effects of Bevacizumab-Based Treatment in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Manzoni M. · Rovati B. · Ronzoni M. · Loupakis F. · Mariucci S. · Ricci V. · Gattoni E. · Salvatore L. · Tinelli C. · Villa E. · Danova M.
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Objective: The efficacy of bevacizumab in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) could be related not only to its well-known antiangiogenetic properties but also to a hypothetical effect on the immune system of the host. Methods: We enrolled mCRC patients treated with a bevacizumab-based first-line therapy. Lymphocyte and dendritic cell subsets were evaluated at baseline, 3rd and 6th cycle. The clinical efficacy was estimated as response rate and progression-free survival. Forty healthy subjects were used as reference. Results: Fifty-one patients were enrolled. In comparison with healthy subjects, they showed a decrease of T and B cell compartments. Bevacizumab ameliorated the impairment of lymphocyte subsets, especially for T cells. Responders showed a trend toward an increase of CD3 (p = 0.07) and CD4 (p = 0.05). Among patients with a progression-free survival >1 year, only CD19 (p = 0.033) and CD20 (p = 0.013) showed a significant increase. No baseline impairment and no significant modification of dendritic cells were found. Conclusion: Bevacizumab-based therapy is able to increase B and T cell compartments. The expansion of T lymphocytes could imply an amelioration of dendritic cell-presenting capacity. These effects correlate with a more favourable clinical outcome and could be taken into account in clinical protocols aimed at combining antiangiogenetic-therapy with immunotherapy in mCRC.

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