Glioblastoma recurrence involves the persistence of a subpopulation of cells with enhanced tumor-initiating capacity (TIC) that reside within the perivascular space, or niche (PVN). Anti-angiogenic therapies may prevent the formation of new PVN but have not prevented recurrence in clinical trials, suggesting they cannot abrogate TIC activity. We hypothesized that combining anti-angiogenic therapy with blockade of PVN function would have superior anti-tumor activity. We tested this hypothesis in an established intracranial xenograft model of GBM using a monoclonal antibody specific for murine and human VEGF (mcr84) and a Protein Epitope Mimetic (PEM) CXCR4 antagonist, POL5551. When doses of POL5551 were increased to overcome an mcr84-induced improvement in vascular barrier function, combinatorial therapy significantly inhibited intracranial tumor growth and improved survival. Anti-tumor activity was associated with significant changes in tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis, and a reduction in the numbers of perivascular cells expressing the TIC marker nestin. A direct effect on TICs was demonstrated for POL5551, but not mcr84, in three primary patient-derived GBM isolates. These findings indicate that targeting the structure and function of the PVN has superior anti-tumor effect and provide a strong rationale for clinical evaluation of POL5551 and Avastin in patients with GBM.
- Stem cells
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