Epidermal growth factor receptor expression modulates antitumor efficacy of vandetanib or cediranib combined with radiotherapy in human glioblastoma xenografts

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jan 1;82(1):483-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.09.019. Epub 2010 Nov 22.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of radiation therapy (RT) combined with the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) vandetanib (antiepidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR] plus antivascular endothelial growth factor receptor [anti-VEGFR]) and cediranib (anti-VEGFR) to inhibit glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) growth. A secondary aim was to investigate how this regimen is modulated by tumor EGFR expression.

Methods and materials: Radiosensitivity was assessed by clonogenic cell survival assay. VEGF secretion was quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. GBM (U87MG wild-type EGFR [wtEGFR] and U87MG EGFR-null) xenografts were treated with vandetanib, cediranib, and RT, alone or in combinations. Excised tumor sections were stained for proliferative and survival biomarkers.

Results: In vitro, U87MG wtEGFR and U87 EGFR-null cells had similar growth kinetics. Neither TKI affected clonogenic cell survival following RT. However, in vivo, exogenous overexpression of wtEGFR decreased tumor doubling time (T2x) in U87MG xenografts (2.70 vs. 4.41 days for U87MG wtEGFR vs. U87MG vector, respectively). In U87MG EGFR-null cells, TKI combined with radiation was no better than radiation therapy alone. In U87MG wtEGFR, RT in combination with vandetanib (but not with cediranib) significantly increased tumor T2x compared with RT alone (T2x, 10.4 days vs. 4.8 days; p < 0.001). In vivo, growth delay correlated with suppression of pAkt, survivin, and Ki67 expression in tumor samples. The presence of EGFR augmented RT-stimulated VEGF release; this effect was inhibited by vandetanib.

Conclusions: EGFR expression promoted tumor growth in vivo but not in vitro, suggesting a microenvironmental effect. GBM xenografts expressing EGFR exhibited greater sensitivity to both cediranib and vandetanib than EGFR-null tumors. Hence EGFR status plays a major role in determining a tumor's in vivo response to radiation combined with TKI, supporting a "personalized" approach to GBM management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chemoradiotherapy / methods
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use*
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Burden
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Piperidines
  • Quinazolines
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • cediranib
  • N-(4-bromo-2-fluorophenyl)-6-methoxy-7-((1-methylpiperidin-4-yl)methoxy)quinazolin-4-amine