The effect of thalidomide on experimental tumors and metastases

Anticancer Drugs. 1996 May;7(3):339-43. doi: 10.1097/00001813-199605000-00015.


Thalidomide has recently been shown to antagonize basic fibroblast growth factor-induced angiogenesis in the rat corneal micropocket assay. We have investigated the effect of thalidomide on growth, radiosensitivity and metastasis in murine SCCVII and Lewis Lung tumors. We found that daily thalidomide administration (0.77 mmol/kg/day, i.p.) does not alter primary tumor growth of SCCVII or Lewis Lung tumors. However, thalidomide administration does reduce radiosensitivity of the Lewis Lung tumor, and increases its sensitivity to combined treatment with radiation and the bioreductive cytotoxin tirapazamine. These findings suggest that thalidomide is elevating tumor hypoxia in the Lewis Lung tumor, presumably via an anti-angiogenic mechanism. We also found that thalidomide administration reduces the incidence of lung metastases from primary Lewis Lung tumors. Thalidomide may therefore have utility in the management of solid tumors, especially when combined with drugs that are selectively toxic to cells at reduced oxygen tension (e.g. bioreductive cytotoxins).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / blood supply
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Thalidomide / therapeutic use*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / radiation effects


  • Thalidomide