Inhibition of angiogenesis by a Semliki Forest virus vector expressing VEGFR-2 reduces tumour growth and metastasis in mice

Gene Ther. 2007 Mar;14(6):503-13. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2006 Dec 14.


Inhibition of tumour angiogenesis has been shown to restrict primary tumour growth and metastatic spread. This study examines the active induction of immune responses against tumour endothelial cells following immunization with recombinant Semliki Forest virus (rSFV) particles encoding murine vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2). This approach was tested in two murine tumour models, CT26 colon carcinoma and 4T1 metastasizing mammary carcinoma. Tumour growth and metastatic spread were shown to be significantly inhibited in mice that were prophylactically vaccinated or therapeutically treated with rSFV particles coding for VEGFR-2. Microvessel density analysis showed that immunization with rSFV led to significant inhibition of tumour angiogenesis. Therapeutic efficacy was found to be associated with the induction of an antibody response against VEGFR-2. Co-immunization of mice with rSFV particles encoding VEGFR-2 and interleukin (IL)-12 completely abrogated both the antibody response and the antitumour effect. However, co-immunization of mice with VEGFR-2 and IL-4 encoding particles was shown both to induce higher titres of anti-VEGFR-2 antibodies and lead to enhanced survival following tumour challenge when compared to mice vaccinated with VEGFR-2 particles alone. These findings indicate that active immunization with rSFV particles coding for VEGFR-2 can break immunological tolerance and could potentially be used as part of a novel treatment for cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Colonic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Semliki forest virus / genetics*
  • Transduction, Genetic / methods
  • Vaccination / methods*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / genetics*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / metabolism


  • Autoantibodies
  • Interleukin-4
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2