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PTK 787/ZK 222584, a Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor of all Known VEGF Receptors, Represses Tumor Growth with High Efficacy



The angiogenesis inhibitor PTK 787/ZK 222584 (PTK/ZK) blocks all known VEGF receptor (VEGFR) tyrosine kinases, including the lymphangiogenic VEGFR3, in the lower nanomolar range. From a panel of 100 kinases only PDGFR, c-kit, and c-fms are inhibited beyond those in the nanomolar range. PTK/ZK functions as a competitive inhibitor at the ATP-binding site of the receptor kinase as shown here in kinetic experiments. The VEGF signal blockade in microvascular endothelial cells (MVEC) results in a blockade of MVEC proliferation (IC50=30 nM), without affecting the proliferation of normal tissue cells and tumor cells. The efficacy of PTK/ZK depends on its continuous presence within the endothelial target cells. Early removal attenuates its antiproliferative activity in vitro. Growth inhibition of endothelial cells is fully reversible as demonstrated by “washout” experiments. Without inhibiting tumor cell proliferation directly, PTK/ZK results in a significant retardation of tumor growth in a number of experimental tumor models of different tissue origin. Combination of PTK/ZK with an antiandrogen revealed additive effects on tumor-growth inhibition. Treatment efficacy was monitored both by tumor weight and by the determination of serum concentrations of the surrogate marker PSA. PTK/ZK is currently being investigated in patients with different solid tumor types for its therapeutic utility. Preliminary data from phase I/II clinical trials of PTK/ZK as a monotherapy suggested a positive safety and tolerability profile, which we interpret to be a consequence of the high selectivity of the drug for a limited number of kinases. Preliminary response, time to progression, and overall survival data were promising.1 Based on these encouraging results, PTK/ZK is currently in Phase III clinical trials for metastatic colorectal cancer.