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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 Nov;3(11):1493-502. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-10-0135. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Dual inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor and epidermal growth factor receptor is an effective chemopreventive strategy in the mouse 4-NQO model of oral carcinogenesis.

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Departments of Pathology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Despite recent therapeutic advances, several factors, including field cancerization, have limited improvements in long-term survival for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Therefore, comprehensive treatment plans must include improved chemopreventive strategies. Using the 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4-NQO) mouse model, we tested the hypothesis that ZD6474 (Vandetanib, ZACTIMA) is an effective chemopreventive agent. CBA mice were fed 4-NQO (100 μg/mL) in their drinking water for 8 weeks and then randomized to no treatment or oral ZD6474 (25 mg/kg/d) for 24 weeks. The percentage of animals with OSCC was significantly different between the two groups (71% in control and 12% in the ZD6474 group; P ≤ 0.001). The percentage of mice with dysplasia or OSCC was significantly different (96% in the control and 28% in the ZD6474 group; P ≤ 0.001). Proliferation and microvessel density scores were significantly decreased in the ZD6474 group (P ≤ 0.001 for both). Although proliferation and microvessel density increased with histologic progression in control and treatment cohorts, epidermal growth factor receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 phosphorylation was decreased in the treatment group for each histologic diagnosis, including mice harboring tumors. OSCC from ZD6474-treated mice exhibited features of epithelial to mesenchymal transition, as shown by loss E-cadherin and gain of vimentin protein expression. These data suggest that ZD6474 holds promise as an OSCC chemopreventive agent. They further suggest that acquired resistance to ZD6474 may be mediated by the expression of an epithelial to mesenchymal transition phenotype. Finally, the data suggests that this model is a useful preclinical platform to investigate the mechanisms of acquired resistance in the chemopreventive setting.

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