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School of Pharmacy


Pharmaceutical Sciences


For metastases in the central nervous system, angiogenesis enhances metastatic potential and promotes progression. Primary factors which drive vessel growth are vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-2. Preclinical models show inhibition of either factor reduces metastases spread and inhibits growth. This work sets out to answer two questions in a preclinical mouse model. First, whether the combined inhibition of VEGF and angiopoietin-2, reduces passive permeability and limits drug uptake into brain metastases; and second, whether this inhibition reduces metastases burden in brain. We observed combinatorial inhibition of VEGF and angiopoietin-2, decreased (p < 0.05) angiogenesis and vascular branching in an aortic ring assay and decreased (p < 0.05) endothelial wound closure times. Using a brain metastases of breast cancer model (induced by intracardiac injections of brain seeking MDA-MB-231Br cells or 4T1Br cells), we observed, similar to VEGF, angiopoetin-2 expression correlates to increased angiogenesis (p < 0.05) and increased lesion permeability. To determine efficacy, animals were administered bevacizumab plus L1-10 (angiopoietin inhibitor) twice per week until neurological symptoms developed. Lesion permeability significantly decreased by ∼50% (p < 0.05) compared to untreated lesions, but remained ∼25% greater (p < 0.0%) than brain. In subsequent experiments, animals were administered similar regimens but sacrificed on day 32. The number of metastatic lesions developed was significantly (p < 0.001) reduced in the bevacizumab group (56%) and combination group (86%). Lesions’ size was reduced in bevacizumab treated lesions (∼67%) and bevacizumab and L1-10 treated lesions (∼78%) developing area < 0.5 mm2. In summary, combinatorial inhibition of VEGF and angiopoietin reduces lesion permeability and brain metastatic burden.

Source Citation

Bohn KA, Adkins CE, Nounou MI, Lockman PR. Inhibition of VEGF and Angiopoietin-2 to Reduce Brain Metastases of Breast Cancer Burden. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2017;8. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00193