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Warning Sign for Cancer Drugs

Drugs That Block Tumor Blood Vessels May Harm Normal Cells

VEGF Inside Cells continued...

None of this means cancer patients should avoid VEGF inhibitors.

"If I had an aggressive cancer, I would take these drugs -- even the new ones," Iruela-Arispe says. "If my choice is dying from cancer in six months or taking a risk of a side effect that may never happen, I will certainly take the risk. These are great drugs, but we should continue the search for better ones."

Francis says the message is not that VEGF inhibitors are bad, but that doctors and patients should be aware of the risks.

"If you get into treatments targeting this VEGF pathway, it is going to have to be very carefully done," he says.

Iruela-Arispe and colleagues report their findings in the Aug. 24 issue of the journal Cell.

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