Combined Gene Therapy Using AdsVEGFR2 and AdsTie2 With Chemotherapy Reduces the Growth of Human Ovarian Cancer and Formation of Ascites in Mice

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Abstract

Objectives

Ovarian cancer is highly dependent on tumor microvessels and angiogenesis regulated by vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) and their receptors (VEGFRs) and angiopoietins (Ang) and their Tie receptors. We studied the efficacy of adenoviral (Ad) gene therapy with soluble VEGFR2 and Tie2 combined with paclitaxel and carboplatin for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Methods

An intraperitoneal human ovarian cancer xenograft model in nude mice (n = 44) was used in this study. Gene therapy was given intravenously when the presence of sizable tumors was confirmed in magnetic resonance imaging. The study groups were as follows: AdCMV as a control (group I), AdCMV with chemotherapy (group II), AdsVEGFR2 and AdsTie2 (group III), and AdsVEGFR2 and AdsTie2 with chemotherapy (group IV). Antitumor effectiveness was assessed by overall tumor growth, ascites, immunohistochemistry, microvessel density, and sequential magnetic resonance imaging analyses.

Results

AdsVEGFR2 and AdsTie2 gene therapy (group III) significantly reduced tumor weights as compared with group II (P = 0.007). Accumulation of ascites was significantly reduced when the mice were treated with AdsVEGFR2 and AdsTie2 gene therapy or with combined gene therapy and chemotherapy as compared with controls (P = 0.029 and P = 0.010, respectively). Vascular endothelial growth factor and Ang2 levels in ascites fluid were elevated after the gene therapy.

Conclusions

Combined inhibition of VEGF/VEGFR2 and Ang/Tie2 pathways provided efficient therapy for ovarian cancer in mice. In addition, antiangiogenic gene therapy has potential as a treatment for the accumulation of ascites.

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