Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research

Anti-VEGF antibodies mitigate the development of radiation necrosis in mouse brain.

PMID 24647570


To quantify the effectiveness of anti-VEGF antibodies (bevacizumab and B20-4.1.1) as mitigators of radiation-induced, central nervous system (brain) necrosis in a mouse model. Cohorts of mice were irradiated with single-fraction 50- or 60-Gy doses of radiation targeted to the left hemisphere (brain) using the Leksell Perfexion Gamma Knife. The onset and progression of radiation necrosis were monitored longitudinally by in vivo, small-animal MRI, beginning 4 weeks after irradiation. MRI-derived necrotic volumes for antibody (Ab)-treated and untreated mice were compared. MRI results were supported by correlative histology. Hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections of brains from irradiated, non-Ab-treated mice confirmed profound tissue damage, including regions of fibrinoid vascular necrosis, vascular telangiectasia, hemorrhage, loss of neurons, and edema. Treatment with the murine anti-VEGF antibody B20-4.1.1 mitigated radiation-induced changes in an extraordinary, highly statistically significant manner. The development of radiation necrosis in mice under treatment with bevacizumab (a humanized anti-VEGF antibody) was intermediate between that for B20-4.1.1-treated and non-Ab-treated animals. MRI findings were validated by histologic assessment, which confirmed that anti-VEGF antibody treatment dramatically reduced late-onset necrosis in irradiated brain. The single-hemispheric irradiation mouse model, with longitudinal MRI monitoring, provides a powerful platform for studying the onset and progression of radiation necrosis and for developing and testing new therapies. The observation that anti-VEGF antibodies are effective mitigants of necrosis in our mouse model will enable a wide variety of studies aimed at dose optimization and timing and mechanism of action with direct relevance to ongoing clinical trials of bevacizumab as a treatment for radiation necrosis.