Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and its receptors, Flt-1/FLT-1 (VEGFR-1) and Flk-1/KDR (VEGFR-2), are key regulators of tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth. The purpose of this study was to determine the antiangiogenic and antitumor efficacies of a vasculature-targeting fusion toxin (VEGF(121)/rGel) composed of the VEGF-A isoform VEGF(121) linked with a G(4)S tether to recombinant plant toxin gelonin (rGel) in an orthotopic glioblastoma mouse model by use of noninvasive in vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI), MRI, and PET.Tumor-bearing mice were randomized into 2 groups and balanced according to BLI and MRI signals. PET with (64)Cu-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododedane-N,N',N'',N'''-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)-VEGF(121)/rGel was performed before VEGF(121)/rGel treatment. (18)F-Fluorothymidine ((18)F-FLT) scans were obtained before and after treatment to evaluate VEGF(121)/rGel therapeutic efficacy. In vivo results were confirmed with ex vivo histologic and immunohistochemical analyses.Logarithmic transformation of peak BLI tumor signal intensity revealed a strong correlation with MRI tumor volume (r = 0.89, n = 14). PET with (64)Cu-DOTA-VEGF(121)/rGel before treatment revealed a tumor accumulation (mean +/- SD) of 11.8 +/- 2.3 percentage injected dose per gram at 18 h after injection, and the receptor specificity of the tumor accumulation was confirmed by successful blocking of the uptake in the presence of an excess amount of VEGF(121). PET with (18)F-FLT revealed significant a decrease in tumor proliferation in VEGF(121)/rGel-treated mice compared with control mice. Histologic analysis revealed specific tumor neovasculature damage after treatment with 4 doses of VEGF(121)/rGel; this damage was accompanied by a significant decrease in peak BLI tumor signal intensity.The results of this study suggest that future clinical multimodality imaging and therapy with VEGF(121)/rGel may provide an effective means to prospectively identify patients who will benefit from VEGF(121)/rGel therapy and then stratify, personalize, and monitor treatment to obtain optimal survival outcomes.
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