To survive and grow, cancer tumors depend on blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrition. The growth of blood vessels, which is called angiogenesis, also helps cancer tumors spread to other areas of the body.
That is why cancer treatment often includes therapies to block the growth of blood vessels. These agents are also known as anti-angiogenic therapies.
Targeted therapies to block growth of new blood vessels include:
Monoclonal antibodies and certain tyrosine kinase inhibitors that block the growth of blood vessels are called vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors (VEGF inhibitors).
VEGF inhibitors block the signals causing abnormal growth of blood vessels and to prevent oxygen and nutrients from reaching the cancer cells. At the same time, it is important to know that VEGF inhibitors also can affect healthy cells.
Use this condition center to learn how anti-angiogenic therapies can affect your heart and what you can do to prevent developing heart disease.
Authors: Wendy Bottinor, MD; Carrie Geisberg Lenneman, MD, MSc
Reviewers: Debra Madden, BA; Bonnie Ky, MD, MSCE