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Gene Ther. 2013 Mar;20(3):318-27. doi: 10.1038/gt.2012.42. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

Anti-angiogenic therapy increases intratumoral adenovirus distribution by inducing collagen degradation.

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The Brain Tumor Center, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Conditionally replicating adenoviruses (CRAd) are a promising class of gene therapy agents that can overcome already known glioblastoma (GBM) resistance mechanisms but have limited distribution upon direct intratumoral (i.t.) injection. Collagen bundles in the extracellular matrix (ECM) have an important role in inhibiting virus distribution. In fact, ECM pre-treatment with collagenases improves virus distributions to tumor cells. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are an endogenous class of collagenases secreted by tumor cells whose function can be altered by different drugs including anti-angiogenic agents, such as bevacizumab. In this study we hypothesized that upregulation of MMP activity during anti-angiogenic therapy can improve CRAd-S-pk7 distribution in GBM. We find that MMP-2 activity in human U251 GBM xenografts increases (*P=0.03) and collagen IV content decreases (*P=0.01) during vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) antibody neutralization. After proving that collagen IV inhibits CRAd-S-pk7 distribution in U251 xenografts (Spearman rho=-0.38; **P=0.003), we show that VEGF-blocking antibody treatment followed by CRAd-S-pk7 i.t. injection reduces U251 tumor growth more than each individual agent alone (***P<0.0001). Our data propose a novel approach to improve virus distribution in tumors by relying on the early effects of anti-angiogenic therapy.

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