Inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 signaling reduces tumor burden in the ApcMin/+ mouse model of early intestinal cancer.
Goodlad RA., Ryan AJ., Wedge SR., Pyrah IT., Alferez D., Poulsom R., Smith NR., Mandir N., Watkins AJ., Wilkinson RW.
The Apc(Min/+) mouse model is a clinically relevant model of early intestinal cancer. We used AZD2171, an oral, highly potent and selective vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling inhibitor, to investigate the role of VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) signaling in adenoma development and growth in Apc(Min/+) mice. AZD2171 (5 mg/kg body wt/day) was administered once daily for 28 days to 6-week-old (early-intervention) or 10-week-old (late intervention) mice. In the early-intervention study, AZD2171 reduced the number of macroscopic polyps in the small bowel and colon. Macropolyp diameter was lower in the small bowel, but remained unchanged in the colon. In animals receiving AZD2171, microscopic evaluation of the small intestine showed a significant reduction in the number of larger lesions. In the late-intervention study, AZD2171 treatment reduced macropolyp diameter (but not number) in the small intestine. Microscopic analysis revealed that AZD2171 significantly reduced the number of larger micropolyps in the small bowel, with no large micropolyps present in the colon. AZD2171 treatment had no effect on microvessel density or localization of beta-catenin staining in adenomas or non-tumor intestinal tissue, but significantly reduced the number of cells expressing VEGFR-2 mRNA. In conclusion, the effects of AZD2171 in the small intestine of Apc(Min/+) mice are consistent with an antiangiogenic mechanism of action, limiting growth of adenomas to < or =1 mm. These data also suggest that an early step in adenoma development may depend on VEGFR-2 signaling. Together, these results indicate that VEGFR-2 signaling may play key roles in the development and progression of intestinal adenomas.