Resistance to Antiangiogenic Therapies by Metabolic Symbiosis in Renal Cell Carcinoma PDX Models and Patients

Cell Rep. 2016 May 10;15(6):1134-43. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.04.015. Epub 2016 Apr 28.


Antiangiogenic drugs are used clinically for treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) as a standard first-line treatment. Nevertheless, these agents primarily serve to stabilize disease, and resistance eventually develops concomitant with progression. Here, we implicate metabolic symbiosis between tumor cells distal and proximal to remaining vessels as a mechanism of resistance to antiangiogenic therapies in patient-derived RCC orthoxenograft (PDX) models and in clinical samples. This metabolic patterning is regulated by the mTOR pathway, and its inhibition effectively blocks metabolic symbiosis in PDX models. Clinically, patients treated with antiangiogenics consistently present with histologic signatures of metabolic symbiosis that are exacerbated in resistant tumors. Furthermore, the mTOR pathway is also associated in clinical samples, and its inhibition eliminates symbiotic patterning in patient samples. Overall, these data support a mechanism of resistance to antiangiogenics involving metabolic compartmentalization of tumor cells that can be inhibited by mTOR-targeted drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / metabolism*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm* / drug effects
  • Everolimus / pharmacology
  • Everolimus / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Indoles / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice, Nude
  • Phenotype
  • Pyrroles / pharmacology
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Sunitinib
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Indoles
  • Pyrroles
  • Everolimus
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sunitinib