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Br J Cancer. 2001 Dec 14;85(12):2010-6.

Effect of VEGF receptor inhibitor PTK787/ZK222584 [correction of ZK222548] combined with ionizing radiation on endothelial cells and tumour growth.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Zurich, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland.


The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor is a major target for anti-angiogenesis-based cancer treatment. Here we report the treatment effect of ionizing radiation in combination with the novel orally bioavailable VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor PTK787/ZK222584 on endothelial cell proliferation in vitro and with tumour xenografts in vivo. Combined treatment of human umbilical vein endothelial cells with increasing doses of PTK787/ZK222584 and ionizing radiation abrogated VEGF-dependent proliferation in a dose-dependent way, but inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation was not due to apoptosis induction. In vivo, a combined treatment regimen of PTK787/ZK222584 (4 x 100 mg/kg) during 4 consecutive days in combination with ionizing radiation (4 x 3 Gy) exerted a substantial tumour growth delay for radiation-resistant p53-dysfunctional tumour xenografts derived from SW480 colon adenocarcinoma cells while each treatment modality alone had only a minimal effect on tumour size and neovascularization. SW480 tumours from animals that received a combined treatment regimen, displayed not only an extended tumour growth delay but also a significant decrease in the number of microvessels in the tumour xenograft. These results support the model of a cooperative anti-tumoral effect of angiogenesis inhibitor and irradiation and show that the orally bioavailable VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor PTK787/ZK222584 is suitable for combination therapy with irradiation.

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