Lentivirus-mediated shRNA interference targeting vascular endothelial growth factor inhibits angiogenesis and progression of human pancreatic carcinoma

Xin Zhao, Dong-Ming Zhu, Wen-Juan Gan, Zhi Li, Jiang-Lei Zhang, Hua Zhao, Jin Zhou, De-Chun Li
Oncology Reports 2013, 29 (3): 1019-26
Angiogenesis is known to be essential to the survival, growth, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important factor regulating tumor angiogenesis. In the present study, we analyzed the effect of lentivirus-mediated shRNA interference targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on angiogenesis and progression in the pancreatic cancer cell line Patu8988 in vitro and in vivo. The study aimed to construct a recombinant lentivirus carrying targeted VEGF shRNA (LV-RNAi) to be used to transfect Patu8988 cells, and we investigated its anti-angiogenic and growth inhibitory effects on pancreatic cancer. VEGF expression was measured by RQ-PCR, western blotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In subcutaneous transplantation models, tumor volumes were determined, and the expression levels of VEGF and CD34 were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) was used to determine apoptosis. In the orthotopic transplantation models, tumor volume and liver metastasis were determined. We successfully constructed LV-RNAi and confirmed that it knocked down the VEGF gene at the mRNA and protein levels in Patu8988 cells. In the subcutaneous transplantation models, tumors with low levels of VEGF expression exhibited reduced pancreatic carcinoma angiogenesis and growth, and the apoptotic index was significantly higher. In the orthotopic transplantation models, tumors with low levels of VEGF expression exhibited significantly reduced pancreatic carcinoma growth, but no significant difference was observed between the three mouse groups, LV-RNAi, LV-NC and the control, in regards to liver metastasis. In summary, lentivirus-mediated RNAi silencing of VEGF inhibited tumor angiogenesis and growth, and increased apoptosis of the pancreatic cancer cell line Patu8988. VEGF targeted gene silencing approach has the potential to serve as a novel treatment for pancreatic cancer.

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