Clodronate-liposome-mediated depletion of tumour-associated macrophages: a new and highly effective antiangiogenic therapy approach

Br J Cancer. 2006 Aug 7;95(3):272-81. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603240. Epub 2006 Jul 11.


Tumour-associated macrophages, TAMs, play a pivotal role in tumour growth and metastasis by promoting tumour angiogenesis. Treatment with clodronate encapsulated in liposomes (clodrolip) efficiently depleted these phagocytic cells in the murine F9 teratocarcinoma and human A673 rhabdomyosarcoma mouse tumour models resulting in significant inhibition of tumour growth ranging from 75 to >92%, depending on therapy and schedule. Tumour inhibition was accompanied by a drastic reduction in blood vessel density in the tumour tissue. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the major inducers of tumour angiogenesis and is also required for macrophage recruitment. The strongest effects were observed with the combination therapy of clodrolip and a VEGF-neutralising antibody, whereas free clodronate was not significantly active. Immunohistologic evaluation of the tumours showed significant depletion of F4/80+ and MOMA-1+ and a less pronounced depletion of CD11b+ TAMs. Blood vessel staining (CD31) and quantification of the vessels as well as TAMs and tumour-associated dendritic cells (TADCs) in the A673 model showed reduction rates of 85 to >94%, even 9 days after the end of therapy. In addition, CD11c+ TADCs, which have been shown to potentially differentiate into endothelial-like cells upon stimulation by tumour released growth and differentiation factors, were similarly reduced by clodrolip or antibody treatment. These results validate clodrolip therapy in combination with angiogenesis inhibitors as a promising novel strategy for an indirect cancer therapy aimed at the haematopoietic precursor cells that stimulate tumour growth and dissemination and as a tool to study the role of macrophages and dendritic cells in tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Clodronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Clodronic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Clodronic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Liposomes
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / drug effects
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Liposomes
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Clodronic Acid