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Cancer Res. 2008 Jun 15;68(12):4754-62. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-5809.

The tyrosine kinase inhibitor cediranib blocks ligand-induced vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 activity and lymphangiogenesis.

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Molecular/Cancer Biology Laboratory, Biomedicum Helsinki and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Solid tumors express a range of factors required to sustain their growth and promote their dissemination. Among these are vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), the key angiogenic stimulant, and VEGF-C, a primary mediator of lymphangiogenesis. Small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors offer the potential to inhibit more than one kinase and impede tumor growth by multiple mechanisms. However, their potency toward individual targets can vary. Cediranib (RECENTIN; AZD2171) is an inhibitor of VEGF signaling that has been shown in experimental models to prevent VEGF-A-induced angiogenesis and primary tumor growth, yet the effects of cediranib on VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-3-mediated endothelial cell function and lymphangiogenesis are unknown. To better understand the activity of cediranib against VEGFR-3 and its associated signaling events compared with its activity against VEGFR-2, we used the receptor-specific ligands VEGF-E and VEGF-C156S. In human endothelial cells, cediranib inhibited VEGF-E-induced phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 and VEGF-C156S-induced phosphorylation of VEGFR-3 at concentrations of </=1nmol/L and inhibited activation of downstream signaling molecules. Additionally, cediranib blocked VEGF-C156S-induced and VEGF-E-induced proliferation, survival, and migration of lymphatic and blood vascular endothelial cells. In vivo, cediranib (6 mg/kg/d) prevented angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis induced by VEGF-E-expressing and VEGF-C156S-expressing adenoviruses, respectively. Cediranib (6 mg/kg/day) also blocked angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis induced by adenoviruses expressing VEGF-A or VEGF-C and compromised the blood and lymphatic vasculatures of VEGF-C-expressing tumors. Cediranib may, therefore, be an effective means of preventing tumor progression, not only by inhibiting VEGFR-2 activity and angiogenesis, but also by concomitantly inhibiting VEGFR-3 activity and lymphangiogenesis.

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