VEGFR2 and CD34 expression associated with longer survival in patients with pleural mesothelioma in the IFCT-GFPC-0701 MAPS phase 3 trial

Lung Cancer 2023 August [Link]

Guénaëlle Levallet, Fatéméh Dubois, Nicolas Elie, Christian Creveuil, Solenn Brosseau, Claire Danel, Arnaud Scherpereel, Sylvie Lantuejoul, Julien Mazières, Laurent Greillier, Clarisse Audigier-Valette, Emmanuel Bergot, Denis Moro-Sibilot, Olivier Molinier, Hervé Léna, Isabelle Monnet, Franck Morin, Valérie Gounant, Gérard Zalcman


Objectives: VEGF/VEGFR autocrine loop is a hallmark of pleural mesothelioma (PM). We thus assayed the prognostic and predictive values of VEGFR-2 [vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 or Flk-1] and CD34, a marker of endothelial cells, in samples from patients accrued in the Mesothelioma Avastin Cisplatin Pemetrexed Study (‘MAPS’, NCT00651456).

Materials and methods: VEGFR2 and CD34 expression were assayed using immunohistochemistry in 333 MAPS patients (74.3%), and their prognostic value was evaluated in terms of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in univariate and multivariate analyses, before validation by bootstrap methodology.

Results: Positive VEGFR2 or CD34 staining was observed in 234/333 (70.2%) and 322/323 (99.6%) of tested specimens, respectively. VEGFR2 and CD34 staining correlated weakly, yet significantly, with each other (r = 0.36, p < 0.001). High VEGFR2 expression or high CD34 levels were associated with longer OS in PM patients in multivariate analysis (VEGFR2: adjusted [adj.] hazard ratio [HR]: 0.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.88; 0.95], p < 0.001; CD34: adj. HR: 0.86, 95 %CI [0.76; 0.96], p = 0.010), with only high VEGFR2 expression resulting in significantly longer PFS (VEGFR2: adj. HR: 0.96, 95 %CI [0.92; 0.996], p = 0.032). Stability of these results was confirmed using bootstrap procedure. Nevertheless, VEGFR2 expression failed to specifically predict longer survival in bevacizumab-chemotherapy combination trial arm, regardless of whether the VEGFR2 score was combined or not with serum VEGF concentrations.

Conclusion: VEGFR2 overexpression independently correlated with longer OS or PFS in PM patients, such biomarker deserving prospective evaluation as stratification variable in future clinical trials.