News of the WeekCancer Research

Obstacle for Promising Cancer Therapy

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Science  22 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5559, pp. 1444
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5559.1444a

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Angiogenesis inhibitors, which aim to treat cancer by preventing the growth of the new blood vessels needed to nourish tumors, are being widely tested around the world. But new work suggests that tumors may be able to get around angiogenesis inhibitors, just as they do older chemotherapeutic drugs. Researchers report on page 1526 that tumors in which the p53 tumor suppressor gene has been inactivated--which happens in about 50% of human cancers--are much less responsive to angiogenesis inhibitors than are comparable tumors in which the gene is still functional. Loss of p53 apparently renders tumor cells better able to survive in the low-oxygen conditions present in tumors deprived of an ample blood supply by antiangiogenesis treatment.