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Cancer Res. 2002 Feb 15;62(4):1191-5.

Overexpression of thrombospondin-1 reduces growth and vascular index but not perfusion in glioblastoma.

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Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, University of Copenhagen, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Little is known about the effects of antiangiogenic therapy on perfusion of human tumors and the mechanisms by which tumors can adapt to these treatments and recur. Here, we examined the effects of serial passaging of LN-229 human glioma xenografts overexpressing thrombospondin (TSP)-1 on tumor growth, vascularity, and perfusion. Persistence of TSP-1 overexpression was confirmed after three serial s.c. passages of small xenografted tumor blocks of cells stably transfected with TSP-1 cDNA (clones C9 and E7) or vector controls (pooled clones A7-A9) in immunodeficient nu/nu mice. The tumor vascularity was estimated by noninvasive near infrared spectroscopy measuring blood volume at 800 +/- 10 nm and by histological vessel scores in CD31-immunostained cryosections. The tumor perfusion was assessed by noninvasive laser Doppler flowmetry. Overexpression of TSP-1 significantly inhibited tumor growth. In size-matched tumors (approximately 300 mm(3)), the blood volume and the histological vessel scores were lower in the TSP-1-transfected tumors than in controls, and this effect was more pronounced in tumors derived from the clone with the highest TSP-1 expression (clone E9). Despite this clear reduction in tumor vascularity, the tumor perfusion was the same in TSP-1-transfected tumors and controls. This study shows that TSP-1 overexpression slows glioma growth in vivo but does not prevent it from reaching a large size (300 mm(3)). Whereas a clear reduction in blood volume during tumor growth and a reduced vascular index at sacrifice are observed in TSP-1-transfected tumors, this did not affect perfusion when size-matched comparisons were performed. Given the increased time needed to reach equal size, it indicates that a fixed rate of perfusion must be maintained in the tumor to allow for growth. Elucidation of the mechanisms that allow this to happen has important consequences for the understanding of tumor recurrence after antiangiogenic therapy.

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