Angiogenesis and radiation response modulation after vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR2) blockade

Jing Li, Shyhmin Huang, Eric A Armstrong, John F Fowler, Paul M Harari
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2005 August 1, 62 (5): 1477-85
The formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) represents a critical factor in the malignant growth of solid tumors and metastases. Vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor VEGFR2 represent central molecular targets for antiangiogenic intervention, because of their integral involvement in endothelial cell proliferation and migration. In the current study, we investigated in vitro and in vivo effects of receptor blockade on various aspects of the angiogenic process using monoclonal antibodies against VEGFR2 (cp1C11, which is human specific, and DC101, which is mouse specific). Molecular blockade of VEGFR2 inhibited several critical steps involved in angiogenesis. VEGFR2 blockade in endothelial cells attenuated cellular proliferation, reduced cellular migration, and disrupted cellular differentiation and resultant formation of capillary-like networks. Further, VEGFR2 blockade significantly reduced the growth response of human squamous cell carcinoma xenografts in athymic mice. The growth-inhibitory effect of VEGFR2 blockade in tumor xenografts seems to reflect antiangiogenic influence as demonstrated by vascular growth inhibition in an in vivo angiogenesis assay incorporating tumor-bearing Matrigel plugs. Further, administration of VEGFR2-blocking antibodies in endothelial cell cultures, and in mouse xenograft models, increased their response to ionizing radiation, indicating an interactive cytotoxic effect of VEGFR2 blockade with radiation. These data suggest that molecular inhibition of VEGFR2 alone, and in combination with radiation, can enhance tumor response through molecular targeting of tumor vasculature.

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