Antioxidants & redox signaling

In vivo imaging of tumor physiological, metabolic, and redox changes in response to the anti-angiogenic agent sunitinib: longitudinal assessment to identify transient vascular renormalization.

PMID 24597714


The tumor microenvironment is characterized by a highly reducing redox status, a low pH, and hypoxia. Anti-angiogenic therapies for solid tumors frequently function in two steps: the transient normalization of structurally and functionally aberrant tumor blood vessels with increased blood perfusion, followed by the pruning of tumor blood vessels and the resultant cessation of nutrients and oxygen delivery required for tumor growth. Conventional anatomic or vascular imaging is impractical or insufficient to distinguish between the two steps of tumor response to anti-angiogenic therapies. Here, we investigated whether the noninvasive imaging of the tumor redox state and energy metabolism could be used to characterize anti-angiogenic drug-induced transient vascular normalization. Daily treatment of squamous cell carcinoma (SCCVII) tumor-bearing mice with the multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib resulted in a rapid decrease in tumor microvessel density and the suppression of tumor growth. Tumor pO2 imaging by electron paramagnetic resonance imaging showed a transient increase in tumor oxygenation after 2-4 days of sunitinib treatment, implying improved tumor perfusion. During this window of vascular normalization, magnetic resonance imaging of the redox status using an exogenously administered nitroxide probe and hyperpolarized (13)C MRI of the metabolic flux of pyruvate/lactate couple revealed an oxidative shift in tumor redox status. Redox-sensitive metabolic couples can serve as noninvasive surrogate markers to identify the vascular normalization window in tumors with imaging techniques. A multimodal imaging approach to characterize physiological, metabolic, and redox changes in tumors is useful to distinguish between the different stages of anti-angiogenic treatment.

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