Background and purpose: The primary objectives of this study were to address two major questions. (1) Does VEGF receptor-2 antibody (DC101) produce detrimental effects on tumor vascular function and oxygenation that could compromise adjuvant therapies? (2) Is pathophysiological response to such antiangiogenic strategies different in transplanted versus primary spontaneous tumors?
Materials and methods: The effects of early and late initiation DC101 treatment were evaluated using spontaneous murine mammary carcinomas and two markedly different transplanted mammary tumors, MCa-35 and MCa-4. Mice were administered DC101 or saline, tumors were frozen, and immunohistochemical staining was quantified using image analysis of multiply-stained frozen sections. Total blood vessels were identified using antibodies to CD31 or panendothelial antigen, perfused vessels via i.v. injection of fluorescent DiOC7, and tumor hypoxia by hypoxia marker (EF5) uptake.
Results: Tumor growth was significantly inhibited following DC101 administration in all tumor models. In general, early initiation DC101 treatment reduced perfused vessel counts and increased tumor hypoxia, while late initiation treatment had no significant impact on either. Results indicate that DC101 slows tumor growth through a decrease in vascular function, leading to increased tumor cell apoptosis and necrosis at sites distant from perfused blood vessels, and suggest that DC101 accelerates the rate at which tumor cells outgrow their functional vascular supply.
Conclusions: Although highly variable among individual spontaneous tumors, the overall effects of DC101 on tumor hypoxia were quite similar between spontaneous and transplanted tumors. Since reductions in tumor oxygenation due to antiangiogenic treatment were transient, initial pathophysiological deficiencies that could compromise conventional therapies over the short-term may be of less relevance when administered over more extended treatment schedules.