Fast screening platform for cancer therapy


Despite promising preclinical results, average response rates to anti-VEGF therapies, such as bevacizumab, are reduced for most cancers, while incurring in remarkable costs and side effects. Currently, there are no biomarkers available to select patients that can benefit from this therapy. Depending on the individual tumor, anti-VEGF therapies can either block or promote metastasis. In this context, an assay able to predict individual responses prior to treatment, including the impact on metastasis would prove of great value to guide treatment options. A team from the Champalimaud Foundation led by Rita Fior showed that zebrafish xenografts are able to reveal different responses to bevacizumab in just 4 days, evaluating not only individual tumor responses but also the impact on angiogenesis and micrometastasis. Importantly, the author perform proof-of-concept experiments where clinical responses in patients were compared with their matching zebrafish Patient-Derived Xenografts - zAvatars, opening the possibility of using the zebrafish model to screen bevacizumab therapy in a personalized manner.

The article entitled “Zebrafish xenografts as a fast screening platform for bevacizumab cancer therapy” was published in Communications Biology.