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Development of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor (VEGFR) Kinase Inhibitors as Anti-Angiogenic Agents in Cancer Therapy

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Among the known angiogenic growth factors and cytokines implicated in the modulation of normal and pathological angiogenesis, the VEGF family (VEGF-A, VEGF-B, VEGF-C, VEGF-D) and their corresponding receptor tyrosine kinases [VEGFR-1 (Flt-1), VEGFR-2 (Flk-1, KDR), and VEGFR-3 (Flt-4)] play a paramount and indispensable role in regulating the multiple facets of the angiogenic and lymphangiogenic processes, as well as the induction of vascular permeability and inflammation. The receptor VEGFR-2 / KDR is the principal one through which VEGFs exert their mitogenic, chemotactic, and vascular permeabilizing effects on the host vasculature. Increased expression of VEGFs by tumor cells and VEGFR-2 / KDR and VEGFR-1 / Flt-1 by the tumor-associated vasculature are a hallmark of a variety of human and rodent tumors in vivo and correlates with tumor growth rate, micro-vessel density / proliferation, tumor metastatic potential, and poorer patient prognosis in a variety of malignancies. Approaches to disrupting the VEGF / VEGFR signaling cascade range from biological agents (soluble receptors, anti-VEGF and anti-VEGFR-2 antibodies, and VEGF transcription inhibitors) to small molecule ATP competitive VEGFR inhibitors. Examples from this latter class that are currently in clinical development include compounds from distinct chemical classes such as: indolin-2-ones, anilinoquinazolines, anilinophthalazines, isothiazoles, indolo- and indenocarbazoles. The structure activity relationships, biochemical and pharmacological profile of optimized representatives from each of these classes constitute the subject matter of this review.
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Keywords: VEGFR-1; chemotactic; tyrosine

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Cephalon, Inc., 145 Brandywine Parkway, West Chester, PA, 19380, USA.

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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