Vascular endothelial growth factor immunoneutralization plus Paclitaxel markedly reduces tumor burden and ascites in athymic mouse model of ovarian cancer

Am J Pathol. 2002 Nov;161(5):1917-24. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)64467-7.


Ovarian cancer is characterized by rapid growth of solid intraperitoneal tumors and production of large volumes of ascites. Our previous studies of intraperitoneal ovarian carcinoma in an athymic mouse model demonstrated that a monoclonal antibody (mAb) to human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) could prevent ascites formation. Although ascites was almost completely inhibited, tumor burden was variably reduced. To develop more effective therapy, we assessed the combination of a human VEGF mAb plus paclitaxel. Four groups of female athymic nude mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with OVCAR3 cells. Two weeks after inoculation, one group was treated with a human VEGF mAb intraperitoneally twice weekly plus paclitaxel intraperitoneally three times weekly for 6 weeks. The second group was treated with VEGF mAb alone. The third group was treated with paclitaxel alone. The remaining group was treated with vehicle only. Tumor burden in the VEGF mAb plus paclitaxel and paclitaxel alone groups was reduced by 83.3% and 85.7% and 58.5% and 59.5%, respectively, in two separate experiments, compared to controls. VEGF mAb alone caused no significant decrease in tumor burden, nor did treatment of mice inoculated intraperitoneally with HEY-A8 cells, a non-VEGF-secreting ovarian cell line. Virtually no ascites developed in the combined treatment group or the group treated with VEGF mAb alone. Paclitaxel alone reduced ascites slightly, but not significantly. Morphological studies demonstrated that VEGF immunoneutralization enhanced paclitaxel-induced apoptosis in these human ovarian cancers. Thus, combination therapy with inhibitors of VEGF plus paclitaxel may be an effective way to markedly reduce tumor growth and ascites in ovarian carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis
  • Ascites / prevention & control
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / therapy*
  • Cell Division
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / immunology
  • Female
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / immunology
  • Lymphokines / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Lymphokines / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lymphokines
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Paclitaxel