• Open Access

Inhibition of lymphatic metastasis in neuroblastoma by a novel neutralizing antibody to vascular endothelial growth factor-D


To whom correspondence should be addressed.

E-mail: kashimaknj@chugai-pharm.co.jp


Lymphatic spread is an important clinical determinant in the prognosis of many human cancers. The lymphangiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor-D (VEGF-D) is implicated in the promotion of lymphatic metastasis through the development of lymphatic vessels in some human cancers. In this study, we developed an anti-VEGF-D monoclonal antibody, cVE199, and investigated its in vitro properties, in vivo effects against tumors and possible target indications to evaluate its potential as a therapeutic antibody. The cVE199 molecule was revealed to have a specific binding reactivity against human VEGF-D, as well as a specific inhibitory activity against the binding of human VEGF-D to VEGFR-3. In addition, cVE199 was found to inhibit the biological activity of VEGF-D against lymphatic cells in vitro. Because we determined that a neuroblastoma cell line, SK-N-DZ, abundantly expressed VEGF-D, an in vivo efficacy study was performed using a xenograft model of SK-N-DZ. We found that cVE199 significantly decreased lymphatic metastasis of SK-N-DZ as well as lymphangiogenesis in primary lesions. Finally, we investigated VEGF-D expression in human neuroblastoma, finding that the molecule was expressed in 11 of 29 human neuroblastoma specimens (37.9%). In conclusion, we found that a novel anti-VEGF-D monoclonal antibody, cVE199, with specific reactivity against human VEGF-D, prevents lymphatic metastasis of neuroblastoma through the inhibition of lymphangiogenesis in an animal model. In addition, our results show that VEGF-D is expressed in some cases of human neuroblastomas, which suggests that cVE199 is a potential anti-metastasis therapeutic antibody in neuroblastoma treatment.