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Keywords:

  • recombinant sFLT-1;
  • ascites carcinoma;
  • angiogenesis;
  • protein therapy

Abstract

Background

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is known to play a major role in angiogenesis. A soluble form of Flt-1, a VEGF receptor, is potentially useful as an antagonist of VEGF, and accumulating evidence suggests the applicability of sFlt-1 in tumor suppression. In the present study, we have developed and tested strategies targeted specifically to VEGF for the treatment of ascites formation.

Methods

As an initial strategy, we produced recombinant sFLT-1 in the baculovirus expression system and used it as a trap to sequester VEGF in the murine ascites carcinoma model. The effect of the treatment on the weight of the animal, cell number, ascites volume and proliferating endothelial cells was studied. The second strategy involved, producing Ehrlich ascites tumor (EAT) cells stably transfected with vectors carrying cDNA encoding truncated form of Flt-1 and using these cells to inhibit ascites tumors in a nude mouse model.

Results

The sFLT-1 produced by the baculovirus system showed potent anti-angiogenic activity as assessed by rat cornea and tube formation assay. sFLT-1 treatment resulted in reduced peritoneal angiogenesis with a concomitant decrease in tumor cell number, volume of ascites, amount of free VEGF and the number of invasive tumor cells as assayed by CD31 staining. EAT cells stably transfected with truncated form of Flt-1 also effectively reduced the tumor burden in nude mice transplanted with these cells, and demonstrated a reduction in ascites formation and peritoneal angiogenesis.

Conclusions

The inhibition of peritoneal angiogenesis and tumor growth by sequestering VEGF with either sFlt-1 gene expression by recombinant EAT cells or by direct sFLT-1 protein therapy is shown to comprise a potential therapy. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.