Purpose: Previous experiments have shown that adjuvant inhibition of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor after fractionated irradiation prolonged tumor growth delay and may also improve local tumor control. To test the latter hypothesis, local tumor control experiments were performed.
Methods and materials: Human FaDu and UT-SCC-14 squamous cell carcinomas were studied in nude mice. The vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor PTK787/ZK222584 (50 mg/kg body weight b.i.d.) was administered for 75 days after irradiation with 30 fractions within 6 weeks. Tumor growth time and tumor control dose 50% (TCD(50)) were determined and compared to controls (carrier without PTK787/ZK222584).
Results: Adjuvant administration of PTK787/ZK222584 significantly prolonged tumor growth time to reach 5 times the volume at start of drug treatment by an average of 11 days (95% confidence interval 0.06;22) in FaDu tumors and 29 days (0.6;58) in UT-SCC-14 tumors. In both tumor models, TCD(50) values were not statistically significantly different between the groups treated with PTK787/ZK222584 compared to controls.
Conclusions: Long-term inhibition of angiogenesis after radiotherapy significantly reduced the growth rate of local recurrences but did not improve local tumor control. This indicates that recurrences after irradiation depend on vascular endothelial growth factor-driven angiogenesis, but surviving tumor cells retain their clonogenic potential during adjuvant antiangiogenic treatment with PTK787/ZK222584.