A vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 inhibitor enhances antitumor immunity through an immune-based mechanism

Elizabeth A. Manning, John G.M. Ullman, James M. Leatherman, Justin M. Asquith, Timothy R. Hansen, Todd D. Armstrong, Daniel J. Hicklin, Elizabeth M. Jaffee, Leisha Emens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Purpose: Given the complex tumor microenvironment, targeting multiple cellular components may be the most effective cancer treatment strategy. Therefore, we tested whether antiangiogenic and immune-based therapy might synergize by characterizing the activity of DC101, an antiangiogenic monoclonal antibody specific for vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGF-R2), alone and with HER-2/neu (neu)-targeted vaccination. Experimental Design: Neu-expressing breast tumors were measured in treated nontolerant FVB mice and immune-tolerant neu transgenic (neu-N) mice. Neu-specific and tumor cell-specific immune responses were assessed by intracellular cytokine staining, ELISPOT, and CTL assays. Results: DC101 decreased angiogenesis and increased tumor cell apoptosis. Although DC101 increased serum levels of the immunosuppressive cytokine VEGF, no evidence of systemic immune inhibition was detected. Moreover, DC101 did not impede the influx of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. In FVB mice, DC101 inhibited tumor growth in part through a T cell-dependent mechanism, resulting in both increased tumor-specific CD8 + T cells and tumor regression. Combining DC101 with neu-specific vaccination accelerated tumor regression, augmenting the lytic activity of CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. In tolerant neu-N mice, DC101 only delayed tumor growth without inducing frank tumor regression or antigen-specific T-cell activation. Notably, mitigating immune tolerance by inhibiting regulatory T cell activity with cyclophosphamide revealed DC101-mediated augmentation of antitumor responses in vaccinated neu-N mice. Conclusions: This is the first report of DC101-induced antitumor immune responses. It establishes the induction of tumor-specific T-cell responses as one consequence of VEGF-R2 targeting with DC101. These data support the development of multitargeted cancer therapy combining immune-based and antiangiogenic agents for clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3951-3959
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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