Object: The goal of this study was to determine the effects of SU6668, a polyvalent receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor against vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2, platelet-derived growth factor receptor-beta, and fibroblast growth factor-1 on tumor growth, angiogenesis, and microcirculation in an orthotopic malignant glioma model.
Methods: Fluorescently labeled C6 malignant glioma cells were implanted into a long-term cranial window, which had been prepared in nude mice. The animals were treated with intraperitoneal injections of SU6668 (75 mg/kg/day) immediately (five animals) or 7 days (five animals) following tumor implantation. Control mice received intraperitoneal injections of vehicle (50 microl dimethylsulfoxide) immediately (five animals) or 7 days (four animals) after tumor implantation. Tumor growth, angiogenesis, and microcirculation were assessed by performing intravital fluorescence videomicroscopy over a 14-day observation period. To assess the effects of SU6668 on overall survival, C6 glioma cells were implanted stereotactically into the brains of 24 additional animals and treatment was initiated on Day 7. In both the immediate and delayed experimental setting, SU6668 treatment resulted in a significant reduction of total and functional tumor vessel densities (both p < 0.05), reflecting a suppression of angiogenesis and impairment of tumor perfusion. As a consequence, tumor growth was significantly inhibited (p < 0.05). Histological analysis demonstrated reduced tumor growth and less mass effect on the adjacent brain of treated animals. The survival experiments confirmed the importance of our results in that survival was significantly prolonged following SU6668 therapy (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Targeting of multiple angiogenic signaling pathways by polyvalent tyrosine kinase inhibitors represents a promising strategy to interfere with the vascularization, microcirculation, and growth of angiogenesis-dependent tumors. This also applies to malignant gliomas, despite the uniqueness of the cerebral microenvironment and the singular pathobiology of this tumor entity.