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Int J Cancer. 2005 Aug 20;116(2):322-6.

Mechanisms of tumor vascular shutdown induced by 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA): Increased tumor vascular permeability.

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Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


The novel vascular targeting agent 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) has completed phase 1 clinical trial and has shown tumor antivascular activity in both mice and humans. We have investigated its ability to change tumor vascular permeability, relating it to tumor vascular perfusion and other responses. The murine colon 38 adenocarcinoma was grown in C57Bl wild-type mice and mice lacking expression of either tumor necrosis factor receptor-1 (TNFR1(-/-)) or TNF (TNF-/-). Tumor vascular permeability, as measured by extravasation of albumin-Evans Blue complexes 4 hr after DMXAA treatment, was significantly increased in tumor tissue in C57Bl, TNFR1-/- and TNF-/- mice but not in normal (skin) tissue. Significant linear relationships were found between increased tumor vascular permeability, decreased functioning tumor blood vessels (measured by Hoechst 33342 staining at 4 hr), increased plasma 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid concentrations (as a measure of serotonin release by platelets) and the degree of induced tumor hemorrhagic necrosis. The results support the hypothesis that DMXAA increases tumor vascular permeability both directly and through the induction of other vasoactive mediators, including TNF. DMXAA might be useful clinically to potentiate the vascular permeability of other anticancer modalities such as cytotoxic drugs, antibodies, drug conjugates and gene therapy.

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