Inhibition of prostate cancer osteoblastic progression with VEGF121/rGel, a single agent targeting osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and tumor neovasculature


Khalid A Mohamedali, Zhi Gang Li, Michael W Starbuck, Xinhai Wan, Jun Yang, Sehoon Kim, Wendy Zhang, Michael G. Rosenblum, and Nora Navone


A hallmark of prostate cancer (PCa) progression is the development of osteoblastic bone metastases, which respond poorly to available therapies. We previously reported that VEGF121/rGel targets osteoclast precursors and tumor neovasculature. Here we tested the hypothesis that targeting non-tumor cells expressing these receptors can inhibit tumor progression in a clinically relevant model of osteoblastic PCa. Experimental Design: Cells from MDA PCa 118b, a PCa xenograft obtained from a bone metastasis in a patient with castrate-resistant PCa, were injected into the femurs of mice. Osteoblastic progression was monitored following systemic administration of VEGF121/rGel. Results: VEGF121/rGel was cytotoxic in vitro to osteoblast precursor cells. This cytotoxicity was specific as VEGF121/rGel internalization into osteoblasts was VEGF121 receptor driven. Furthermore, VEGF121/rGel significantly inhibited PCa-induced bone formation in a mouse calvaria culture assay. In vivo, VEGF121/rGel significantly inhibited the osteoblastic progression of PCa cells in the femurs of nude mice. Microcomputed tomography analysis revealed that VEGF121/rGel restored the bone volume fraction of tumor-bearing femurs to values similar to those of the contralateral (non-tumor bearing) femurs. VEGF121/rGel significantly reduced the number of tumor-associated osteoclasts but did not change the numbers of peritumoral osteoblasts. Importantly, VEGF121/rGel-treated mice had significantly less tumor burden than control mice. Our results thus indicate that VEGF121/rGel inhibits osteoblastic tumor progression by targeting angiogenesis, osteoclastogenesis, and bone formation. Conclusions: Targeting VEGFR-1- or VEGFR-2-expressing cells is effective in controlling the osteoblastic progression of PCa in bone. These findings provide the basis for an effective multitargeted approach for metastatic PCa.

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