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Br J Cancer. 2013 Apr 30;108(8):1616-23. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.153. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Toll-like receptor 9 agonist IMO cooperates with everolimus in renal cell carcinoma by interfering with tumour growth and angiogenesis.

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Dipartimento di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Molecolare e Clinica, Università di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy.



Targeting the mammalian target of rapamycin by everolimus is a successful approach for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) therapy. The Toll-like receptor 9 agonist immune modulatory oligonucleotide (IMO) exhibits direct antitumour and antiangiogenic activity and cooperates with both epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors.


We tested the combination of IMO and everolimus on models of human RCC with different Von-Hippel Lindau (VHL) gene status, both in vitro and in nude mice. We studied their direct antiangiogenic effects on human umbilical vein endothelial cells.


Both IMO and everolimus inhibited in vitro growth and survival of RCC cell lines, and their combination produced a synergistic inhibitory effect. Moreover, everolimus plus IMO interfered with EGFR-dependent signaling and reduced VEGF secretion in both VHL wild-type and mutant cells. In RCC tumour xenografts, IMO plus everolimus caused a potent and long-lasting cooperative antitumour activity, with reduction of tumour growth, prolongation of mice survival and inhibition of signal transduction. Furthermore, IMO and everolimus impaired the main endothelial cell functions.


A combined treatment with everolimus and IMO is effective in VHL wild-type and mutant models of RCC by interfering with tumour growth and angiogenesis, thus representing a potentially effective, rationale-based combination to be translated in the clinical setting.

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