Malignant ascites manifests as an end-stage event during the progression of a number of cancers and lacks a generally accepted standard therapy. Interferon-β (IFN-β) has been used to treat several cancer indications; however, little is known about the efficacy of IFN-β on malignant ascites. In the present study, we report on the development of a novel, engineered form of human and murine IFN-β, each conjugated with a polyethylene glycol molecule (PEG-hIFN-β and PEG-mIFN-β, respectively). We provide evidence that these IFN-β molecules retain anti-viral potency comparable to unmodified IFN-β in vitro and manifested improved pharmacokinetics in vivo. Interestingly, PEG-mIFN-β significantly inhibited the accumulation of ascites fluid and vascular permeability of the peritoneal membrane in models of ovarian cancer and gastric cancer cell xenograft mice. We further show that PEG-hIFN-β directly suppresses VEGF165 -induced hyperpermeability in a monolayer of human vascular endothelial cells and that PEG-mIFN-β enhanced gene expression for a number of cell adhesion related molecules in mouse vascular endothelial cells. Taken together, these findings unveil a hitherto unrecognized potential of IFN-β in maintaining vascular integrity, and provide proof-of-mechanism for a novel and long-acting pegylated hIFN-β for the therapeutic treatment of malignant ascites.
Keywords: Anti-tumor activity; malignant ascites; pegylated interferon-beta; peritoneal metastasis; vascular hyperpermeability.
© 2017 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.