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Cancer Discov. 2012 May;2(5):434-49. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-11-0171. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Reversing resistance to vascular-disrupting agents by blocking late mobilization of circulating endothelial progenitor cells.

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Translational Research Laboratory, University of Paris-Sud, INSERM U981, Villejuif, France.


The prevailing concept is that immediate mobilization of bone marrow-derived circulating endothelial progenitor cells (CEP) is a key mechanism mediating tumor resistance to vascular-disrupting agents (VDA). Here, we show that administration of VDA to tumor-bearing mice induces 2 distinct peaks in CEPs: an early, unspecific CEP efflux followed by a late yet more dramatic tumor-specific CEP burst that infiltrates tumors and is recruited to vessels. Combination with antiangiogenic drugs could not disrupt the early peak but completely abrogated the late VDA-induced CEP burst, blunted bone marrow-derived cell recruitment to tumors, and resulted in striking antitumor efficacy, indicating that the late CEP burst might be crucial to tumor recovery after VDA therapy. CEP and circulating endothelial cell kinetics in VDA-treated patients with cancer were remarkably consistent with our preclinical data. These findings expand the current understanding of vasculogenic "rebounds" that may be targeted to improve VDA-based strategies.


Our findings suggest that resistance to VDA therapy may be strongly mediated by late, rather than early, tumor-specific recruitment of CEPs, the suppression of which resulted in increased VDA-mediated antitumor efficacy. VDA-based therapy might thus be significantly enhanced by combination strategies targeting late CEP mobilization.

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