Combined targeting of interleukin-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor potently inhibits glioma growth and invasiveness

Int J Cancer. 2009 Sep 1;125(5):1054-64. doi: 10.1002/ijc.24380.


Interleukin-6 (IL6) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFA) are abundantly produced by glioma cells and contribute to malignancy by promoting angiogenesis, cell proliferation and resistance to apoptosis. We compared the effect of inhibiting IL6 and VEGF on U87-derived experimental glioma grown on the chick chorio-allantoic membrane (CAM) or in the brain of xenografted mice. Tumor growth was monitored by biomicroscopy and immunohistology. In vitro, IL6 knockdown had no effect on proliferation but substantially enhanced invasion. In the CAM experimental glioma, IL6 or VEGF knockdown reduced growth and vascularization of the tumors with a comparable efficiency, but increased invasion of residual tumor cells. In contrast, combined IL6/VEGF knockdown not only showed enhanced reduction of tumor growth and angiogenesis but also significantly prevented invasion of residual tumor cells. In mice, combining IL6 knockdown and Avastin treatment completely abrogated tumor development and infiltration. Molecular response of tumor cells to single or combined treatment was studied by transcriptomic profiling. Many cell cycle promoting genes and chromatin components were silenced in the double knockdown. In addition, specific migratory signatures detected in tumors under single IL6 or VEGF knockdown were partially erased in combined IL6/VEGF knockdown tumors. Our results show that treatment with a combination of IL6 and VEGF inhibitors brings synergistic antitumoral benefit and reduces global activity of major pathways of cell survival, proliferation and invasiveness in remaining tumor cells that may be induced by using VEGF or IL6 inhibitors alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glioma / blood supply
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Small Interfering / physiology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Bevacizumab