In vitro pharmacological characterizations of the anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor cell migration properties mediated by microtubule-affecting drugs, with special emphasis on the organization of the actin cytoskeleton

Int J Oncol. 2002 Aug;21(2):417-25.


The aim of the present work is to investigate whether microtubule-affecting drugs including vincristine, vinblastine, vindesine and vinorelbine are able to produce an anti-angiogenic effect at non-cytotoxic doses in the same way of taxol. The cytotoxic effects were determined by means of the colorimetric MTT assay, and the anti-angiogenic effects on HUVEC cells growing on Matrigel and forming capillary networks. Sixteen additional drugs (camptothecin, SN38, topothecan, adriamycin, daunomycin, etoposide, bleomycin, melphalan, mitomycin C, TNP-470, cisplatin, carboplatin, 5-fluorouracil, methotrexate, suramin and batimastat) were used as control in order to test the specificity of the microtubule-affecting drug effects. We also investigated by means of videomicroscopy whether microtubule-affecting drugs could produce anti-migratory effects at non-cytotoxic doses on tumor cells. Finally, we used computer-assisted fluorescence microscopy to characterize the influence of microtubule-affecting drugs on the polymerization/depolymerization dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton in tumor cells. Our results show that taxol, vincristine and vindesine behave similarly in their ability to reduce the capillary network formation by HUVEC cells cultured on Matrigel. These anti-angiogenic effects appear at non-cytotoxic concentrations. In contrast, vinblastine and vinorelbine produce apparent anti-angiogenic effects by direct cytotoxicity. Microtubule-affecting agents are also able to significantly reduce the level of migration of tumor cells at non-cytotoxic concentrations, some of these effects may occur via modifications to the actin cytoskeleton organization. Several types of microtubule-affecting agents could be used as anti-angiogenic agents by administering them at non-cytotoxic concentrations, and some microtubule-affecting agents abandoned in pharmacological assays could turn out to be potent anti-migratory drugs acting on tumor cells, though without being too cytotoxic.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Collagen
  • Colonic Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Combinations
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / growth & development
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Laminin
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Proteoglycans
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects*


  • Actins
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Laminin
  • Proteoglycans
  • matrigel
  • Collagen