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Gene Therapeutic Exploration: Retrovirus-Mediated Soluble Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 (sFLK-1) Inhibits the Tumorigenicity of S180, MCF-7, and B16 Cells In Vivo

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Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis is an anticancer strategy in which neovasculature is targeted because tumor progression relies on neovascularization. The soluble, truncated form of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), sFLK-1, is a well-known inhibitor of endothelial cells. This kind of soluble receptor retains its high-affinity binding to VEGF, but cannot work with the receptor tyrosine transphosphorylation and activation of downstream signal transduction to induce endothelial proliferation due to the lack of the tyrosine kinase domain. Therefore, we tried to use this sFLK-1 as an inhibitor for malignant tumor gene therapy. In this study we transferred a soluble VEGFR-2 (sFLK-1) from embryo mouse liver by RT-PCR to PA317 cells through retroviral vector (pLXSN) and obtained stable expression. NIH3T3 cells were used for measuring the virus titer. The virus titer in this experiment was 2 × 107 CFU/ml. After 7 days of preparing subcutaneous tumor models bearing S180, MCF-7, and B16 cells in mice, respectively, 2 × 107 PFU of recombinant retroviruses were injected locally into the tumors the treatment groups. After treatment, the tumor size and weight were significantly smaller than that of control (p < 0.05). After autopsy, the metastasic focus numbers in the treatment groups were also less than control groups. We also measured VEGFR-2 expression in tumor tissues by Western blot to check if sFLK-1 had been integrated into the cells of tumor tissues. Expression in the treatment groups was significantly greater than that of control groups (p < 0.001). Microvessel density (MVD) and proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) were investigated to determine whether the Re-sFLK-1 fragment had the ability to inhibit tumor angiogenesis and proliferation in mice bearing S180 and MCF-7 cells. The results showed that MVD and PCNA in the treatment groups were lower than in control groups. There were significant difference between treatment groups and control groups (p < 0.0001). The results indicated that retroviral-mediated sFLK-1 gene therapy in animal tumor models has significant therapeutic effect.
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Keywords: Angiogenesis; Gene therapy; Retroviral vector; Soluble receptor; Tumor growth; VEGF

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Pathobiology, Department of Pathology, College of Basic Medicine, Jilin University, Changchun, China

Publication date: 2005-05-01

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