• Open Access

Tumor microvasculature with endothelial fenestrations in VHL null clear cell renal cell carcinomas as a potent target of anti-angiogenic therapy


To whom correspondence should be addressed.

E-mail: hap@kuhp.kyoto-u.ac.jp


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted therapies show significant antitumor effects for advanced clear cell renal cell carcinomas (CC-RCCs). Previous studies using VEGF inhibitors in mice models revealed that VEGF-dependent capillaries were characterized by the existence of endothelial fenestrations (EFs). In this study, we revealed that capillaries with abundant EFs did exist, particularly in CC-RCCs harboring VHL mutation. This finding was recapitulated in mice xenograft models, in which tumors from VHL null cells showed more abundant EFs compared to those from VHL wild-type cells. Importantly, treatment with bevacizumab resulted in a significant decrease of tumor size established from VHL null cells. Additionally, a significant reduction of EFs and microvessel density was observed in VHL null tumors. Indeed, xenograft from 786-O/mock (pRC3) cells developed four times more abundant EFs than that from 786-O/VHL (WT8). However, introduction of the constitutively active form of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2α to WT8 cells failed to either augment the number of EFs or restore the sensitivity to bevacizumab in mice xenograft, irrespective of the equivalent production of VEGF to 786-O/mock cells. These results indicated that HIF-2α independent factors also play significant roles in the development of abundant EFs. In fact, several angiogenesis-related genes including CCL2 were upregulated in 786-O cells in a HIF-2α independent manner. Treatment with CCL2 neutralizing antibody caused significant reduction of capillaries with EFs in 786-O xenograft, indicating that they were also sensitive to CCL2 inhibition as well as VEGF. Collectively, these results strongly indicated that capillaries with distinctive phenotype developed in VHL null CC-RCCs are potent targets for anti-angiogenic therapy.