In Vitro and in Vivo Treatment of Colon Cancer by VIP Antagonists

Regul Pept. 2002 Nov 15;109(1-3):127-33. doi: 10.1016/s0167-0115(02)00195-7.


Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is secreted from many cancer lines and VIP binding was observed in many tumors. We have shown before that VIP antagonists are potent inhibitors of neoplastic growth of neuroblastoma, lung and breast cancer cells in vitro. Here, the cultured colon cancer cell line HCT-15 that exhibited VIP receptor expression was treated with the VIP hybrid antagonist neurotensin(6-11)VIP(7-28). The antineoplastic activity was assessed by thymidine incorporation. Neurotensin(6-11)VIP(7-28) efficiently inhibited cancer growth with a maximal effect at nanomolar concentrations. Once the inhibitory properties of the VIP antagonist on colon cancer cells were established, the in vivo curative effects were analyzed. Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with azoxymethane (AOM) (15 mg/kg/week) for 2 weeks, providing artificial induction of colon tumors. The rats were then allocated into four experimental groups: (1) receiving no treatment; (2) receiving treatment with saline; (3, 4) receiving treatment with 10 or 20 microg of neurotensin(6-11)VIP(7-28), respectively. After 10 weeks of daily injections, rats were sacrificed and tumors assessed for stage, volume, location, differentiation and lymphocytic infiltrate. Embedded mucosa was assessed for dysplastic crypts. Results showed that the antagonist treatment reduced the tumor volume, staging, lymphocyte infiltrate and the number of dysplastic crypts. Thus, neurotensin(6-11)VIP(7-28) could serve as an effective cancer treatment and a preventing agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neurotensin / pharmacology
  • Neurotensin / therapeutic use*
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology
  • Peptide Fragments / therapeutic use*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / genetics
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / metabolism
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide, Type I
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Peptide Fragments
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide, Type I
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Neurotensin