Increased expression of VEGF in several types of tumours has been shown to correlate with poor prognosis. We used a replication-deficient adenoviral vector containing antisense VEGF cDNA (Ad5CMV-alphaVEGF) to down-regulate VEGF expression and increase the efficiency of delivery of the antisense sequence in the human breast cancer cell line MDA231-MB. Transfection of these cells with Ad5CMV-alphaVEGF in vitro reduced secreted levels of VEGF protein without affecting cell growth. Moreover, injection of the Ad5CMV-alphaVEGF vector into intramammary xenografts of these cells established in nude mice inhibited tumour growth and reduced the amount of VEGF protein and the density of microvessels in those tumours relative to tumours treated with the control vector Ad5(dl312). Our results showed that antisense VEGF(165)cDNA was efficiently delivered in vivo via an adenoviral vector and that this treatment significantly inhibited the growth of established experimental breast tumours. The Ad5CMV-alphaVEGF vector may be useful in targeting the tumour vasculature in the treatment of breast cancer.
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