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Neoplasia. 2005 Oct;7(10):912-20.

The vascular-targeting fusion toxin VEGF121/rGel inhibits the growth of orthotopic human bladder carcinoma tumors.

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Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors (FLT-1 and KDR) are overexpressed by human bladder cancer cells and tumor endothelial cells, respectively. Strategies that target VEGF receptors hold promise as antiangiogenic therapeutic approaches to bladder cancer. A fusion protein of VEGF121 and the plant toxin gelonin (rGel) was constructed, expressed in bacteria, and purified to homogeneity. Cytotoxicity experiments of VEGF121/rGel on the highly metastatic 253J B-V human bladder cancer cell line demonstrated that the VEGF121/rGel does not specifically target these cells, whereas Western blot analysis showed no detectable expression of KDR. Treatment with VEGF121/rGel against orthotopically implanted 253J B-V xenografts in nude mice resulted in a significant suppression of bladder tumor growth (approximately 60% inhibition; P < .05) compared to controls. Immunohistochemistry studies of orthotopic 253J B-V tumors demonstrated that KDR is highly overexpressed in tumor vasculature. Immunofluorescence staining with antibodies to CD-31 (blood vessel endothelium) and rGel demonstrated a dramatic colocalization of the construct on tumor neovasculature. Treated tumors also displayed an increase in terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin end labeling staining compared to controls. Thus, VEGF121/rGel inhibits the growth of human bladder cancer by cytotoxic effects directed against the tumor vascular supply and has significant potential as a novel antiangiogenic therapeutic against human bladder cancer.

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