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Multitargeting strategy using lenvatinib and golvatinib: maximizing anti-angiogenesis activity in a preclinical cancer model.

Cancer science (2014-12-03)
Youya Nakazawa, Satoshi Kawano, Junji Matsui, Yasuhiro Funahashi, Osamu Tohyama, Hiroki Muto, Takayuki Nakagawa, Tomohiro Matsushima
ABSTRACT

Almost all cancers show intrinsic and/or evasive resistance to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors by multiple mechanisms. Serum angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) level has been proposed as a potential biomarker of VEGF inhibitor response in several cancers. From these clinical observations, the Ang2 and Tie2 (its receptor) axis has been focused on as a promising target. Here, we show a novel strategy to circumvent the resistance by combining multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitors lenvatinib (VEGF receptor, fibroblast growth factor receptor, and RET inhibitor) and golvatinib (E7050; c-Met, Tie2, and EphB4 inhibitor). Tie2 identifies a highly pro-angiogenic macrophage subset, Tie2-expressing macrophages (TEM). Angi-Tie2 and EphB4-EphrinB2 signaling plays critical roles in pericyte-mediated vessel stabilization. In vitro analyses suggested that golvatinib combined with lenvatinib inhibited pericyte-mediated vessel stabilization and TEM differentiation. In thyroid and endometrial cancer models, golvatinib and lenvatinib inhibited pericyte network development and TEM infiltration, resulting in severe perfusion disorder and massive apoptosis. Body weight loss was tolerable, and no macroscopic change was observed. These preclinical studies suggest that modulation of the tumor microenvironment by a strategic and well-tolerated combination of multi-targeting tyrosine kinase inhibitors may sensitize cancer to VEGF inhibitors.

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