Connective tissue growth factor-specific monoclonal antibody inhibits growth of malignant mesothelioma in an orthotopic mouse model

Oncotarget. 2018 Apr 6;9(26):18494-18509. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.24892.


Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive neoplasm with no particularly effective treatments. We previously reported that overexpression of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) promotes mesothelioma growth, thus suggesting it as a novel molecular target. A human monoclonal antibody that antagonizes CTGF (FG-3019, pamrevlumab) attenuates malignant properties of different kinds of human cancers and is currently under clinical trial for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. This study reports the effects of FG-3019 on human mesothelioma in vitro and in vivo. We analyzed the effects of FG-3019 on the proliferation, apoptosis, migration/invasion, adhesion and anchorage-independent growth in three human mesothelioma cell lines, among which ACC-MESO-4 was most efficiently blocked with FG-3019 and was chosen for in vivo experiments. We also evaluated the coexistent effects of fibroblasts on mesothelioma in vitro, which are also known to produce CTGF in various pathologic situations. Coexistent fibroblasts in transwell systems remarkably promoted the proliferation and migration/invasion of mesothelioma cells. In orthotopic nude mice model, FG-3019 significantly inhibited mesothelioma growth. Histological analyses revealed that FG-3019 not only inhibited the proliferation but also induced apoptosis in both mesothelioma cells and fibroblasts. Our data suggest that FG-3019 antibody therapy could be a novel additional choice for the treatment of mesothelioma.

Keywords: FG-3019 (pamrevlumab); connective tissue growth factor (CTGF); malignant mesothelioma; molecular target therapy; tumor microenvironment.