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Br J Cancer. 2004 Jun 14;90(12):2418-24.

Antiangiogenic activity of aplidine, a new agent of marine origin.

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Department of Oncology, Mario Negri Institute, Bergamo 24125, Italy.


The antineoplastic compound aplidine, a new marine-derived depsipeptide, has shown preclinical activity in vitro on haematological and solid tumour cell lines. It is currently in early phase clinical trials. The exact mechanism of action of this anticancer agent still needs to be clarified. We have previously reported that aplidine blocks the secretion of the angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by the human leukaemia cells MOLT-4, suggesting a possible effect on tumour angiogenesis. This study was designed to investigate the antiangiogenic effect of aplidine. In vivo, in the chick embryo allantoic membrane (CAM) assay, aplidine inhibited spontaneous angiogenesis, angiogenesis elicited by exogenous VEGF and FGF-2, and induced by VEGF overexpressing 1A9 ovarian carcinoma cells. In vitro, at concentrations achievable in the plasma of patients, aplidine inhibited endothelial cell functions related to angiogenesis. It affected VEGF- and FGF-2-induced endothelial cell proliferation, inhibited cell migration and invasiveness assessed in the Boyden chamber and blocked the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) by endothelial cells. Finally, aplidine prevented the formation of capillary-like structures by endothelial cells on Matrigel. These findings indicate that aplidine has antiangiogenic activity in vivo and inhibits endothelial cell functional responses to angiogenic stimuli in vitro. This effect might contribute to the antineoplastic activity of aplidine.

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