Characterization of the Effects of Antiangiogenic Agents on Tumor Pathophysiology

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A variety of strategies have been proposed to control tumor growth and metastasis by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis. To optimally combine such antiangiogenic approaches with conventional therapy, improved methods are needed to characterize the underlying pathophysiologic changes. The objective of the current work was to demonstrate the utility of a combination of recently developed immunohistochemical and image analysis techniques in quantitating changes in tumor vasculature and hypoxia. Murine MCa-35 mammary carcinomas were frozen after administration of two COX-2 inhibitors: meloxicam and celecoxib (Celebrex). Total blood vessels were visualized using anti-CD31 staining, perfused vessels by intravenous injection of DiOC7, and tumor hypoxia by EF5 uptake. Although both agents produced similar reductions in tumor volume compared with untreated tumors, varied effects on tumor vasculature and hypoxia were noted. Meloxicam reduced total vessel numbers significantly, whereas celecoxib had no effect. Both drugs substantially increased perfused vessel densities. Although mean hypoxic marker uptake was unchanged from matched controls, intratumor EF5 heterogeneities were significantly different between drugs. The results suggest that COX-2 inhibitors can have varying effects on tumor pathophysiology. Successful use of these drugs to enhance radiation response will likely require optimization of drug choice, dose schedule, and direct physiologic monitoring.

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