Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) produced by tumor cells plays a central role in stimulating angiogenesis required for solid tumor growth. VEGF-specific antibodies inhibit tumor cell line growth in animal models and a humanized monoclonal anti-VEGF antibody (bevacizumab [Avastin]) is approved as a treatment for metastatic cancer. We hypothesized that administration of an adenoviral (Ad) vector expressing the murine monoclonal antibody equivalent of bevacizumab would suppress human tumor growth in vivo. The Ad vector (AdαVEGF) encodes the light chain and heavy chain cDNAs of monoclonal antibody A.4.6.1, a murine antibody that specifically recognizes human VEGF with the same antigen-binding site as bevacizumab. AdαVEGF efficacy in vivo was evaluated with A-673 rhabdomyosarcoma and DU 145 prostate carcinoma cells in human tumor cell xenografts in SCID mice. For both tumor models, AdαVEGF directed the expression of high anti-human VEGF IgG antibody titers in vivo, the numbers of mitotic nuclei and blood vessels in the tumor were significantly decreased (p < 0.05), tumor growth was suppressed (p < 0.05), and there was increased survival (p < 0.005). Thus, AdαVEGF, encoding a murine monoclonal antibody that is the equivalent of bevacizumab, effectively suppresses the growth of human tumors, suggesting gene therapy as an alternative to bevacizumab monoclonal antibody therapy.
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