Researchers report that in laboratory animals, the combination of radiation and the anti-angiogenic drug, endostatin, appears to work synergistically together to stop development of new blood vessels that seek to grow and nourish damaged tumors.
Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center found that the regrowth of new blood vessels was reduced five-fold in mice with implanted squamous cell cancer treated with radiation and endostatin compared to diseased mice that had radiation or endostatin alone, says Satoshi Itasaka, M.D., a visiting postdoctoral fellow from Kyoto, Japan.
"Endostatin enhanced the anti-tumor effects of irradiation and 40 percent of mice in the combined treatment group achieved long-term survival and tumor control," says Itasaka.
The researchers then examined the tumors and found that expression of crucial proteins varied among the treatment groups. Specifically, a "sharp" increase in VEGF/VPF, IL-8 and MMP2 proteins were found in tumors that had been irradiated. These proteins are proangiogenic and invasive factors that are needed to "signal" blood vessels to grow to tumor cells, to nourish them. Radiation increased levels of these proteins, but then endostatin "blocked" them from acting.
Laura Sussman | EurekAlert!
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