A potent angiogenesis inhibitor and anti-tumor peptide
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Oral contraceptives, androgenic agents, progestins and gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues have all been successfully used in the treatment of endometriosis. However, none of these drugs can eradicate the disease. It is widely accepted that the growth of newly formed blood vessels is essential for the establishment and growth of endometriotic lesions; therefore, inhibition of angiogenesis may offer a new option for treatment of this disorder. In this paper, we reviewed anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents and other angiostatic drugs (i.e., TNP470, endostatin, anginex, rapamycin) that have been studied in laboratory and animal models of endometriosis. Although preliminary results are interesting, further investigations are required before clinical trials can be planned in humans.
Anginex, a designed peptide 33-mer, is a potent angiogenesis inhibitor and anti-tumor agent in vivo. Anginex functions by inhibiting endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and migration leading to detachment and apoptosis of activated EC's. To better understand tumor endothelium targeting properties of anginex and enable its use in gene therapy, we constructed an artificial gene encoding the biologically exogenous peptide and produced the protein recombinantly in Pichia pastoris. Mass spectrometry shows recombinant anginex to be a dimer and circular dichroism shows the recombinant protein folds with beta-strand structure like the synthetic peptide. Moreover, like parent anginex, the recombinant protein is active at inhibiting EC growth and migration, as well as inhibiting angiogenesis in vivo in the chorioallantoic membrane of the chick embryo. This study demonstrated that it is possible to produce a functionally active protein version of a rationally designed peptide, using an artificial gene and the recombinant protein approach.
Tumor escape from immunity, as well as the failure of several anti-cancer vaccination and cellular immunotherapy approaches, is suggested to be due to the angiogenesis-mediated suppression of endothelial cell (EC) adhesion molecules involved in leukocyte-vessel wall interactions. We hypothesized that inhibition of angiogenesis would overcome this escape from immunity. We investigated this in vivo by means of intravital microscopy and ex vivo by immunohistochemistry in two mouse tumor models. Angiogenesis inhibitors anginex, endostatin, and angiostatin, and the chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel were found to significantly stimulate leukocyte-vessel wall interactions by circumvention of EC anergy in vivo, i.e., by the up-regulation of endothelial adhesion molecules in tumor vessels. This was confirmed by in vitro studies of cultured EC at the protein and mRNA levels. The new angiostatic designer peptide anginex was most potent at overcoming EC anergy; the enhanced leukocyte-vessel interactions led to an increase in the numbers of tumor infiltrating leukocytes. While anginex inhibited tumor growth and microvessel density significantly, the amount of infiltrated leukocytes (CD45), as well as the number of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes, was enhanced markedly. The current results suggest that immunotherapy strategies can be improved by combination with anti-angiogenesis.
We have demonstrated that the designed peptide anginex displays potent antiangiogenic activity. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of anginex on established tumor vasculature as an adjuvant to radiation therapy of solid tumors. In the MA148 human ovarian carcinoma athymic mouse model, anginex (10 mg/kg) in combination with a suboptimal dose of radiation (5 Gy once weekly for 4 weeks) caused tumors to regress to an impalpable state. In the more aggressive SCK murine mammary carcinoma model, combination of anginex and a single radiation dose of 25 Gy synergistically increased the delay in tumor growth compared to the tumor growth delay caused by either treatment alone. Immunohistochemical analysis also demonstrated significantly enhanced effects of combined treatment on tumor microvessel density and tumor or endothelial cell proliferation and viability. In assessing physiologic effects of anginex, we observed a reduction in tumor perfusion and tumor oxygenation in SCK tumors after 5-7 daily treatments with anginex with no reduction in blood pressure. To test anginex as a radiosensitizer, additional studies using SCK tumors were performed. Three daily i.p. injections of anginex were able to enhance the effect of 2 radiation doses of 10 Gy, resulting in 50% complete responses, whereas the known antiangiogenic agent angiostatin did not enhance the radiation response of SCK tumors. Mechanistically, it appears that anginex functions as an endothelial cell-specific radiosensitizer because anginex showed no effect on in vitro radiosensitivity of SCK or MA148 tumor cells, whereas anginex significantly enhanced the in vitro radiosensitivity of 2 endothelial cell types. This work supports the idea that the combination of the antiangiogenic agent anginex and radiation may lead to improved clinical outcome in treating cancer patients.
Recently, we demonstrated that the designed peptide anginex displays potent antiangiogenic activity. The aim of the present study was to investigate anginex treatment as a single-agent therapy and to test its ability to improve conventional chemotherapy and antiangiogenesis therapy. In a human ovarian carcinoma mouse model, anginex inhibited tumor growth by 70%. When anginex was combined with a suboptimal dose of carboplatin, tumors regressed to an impalpable state. Anginex plus angiostatin worked synergistically to inhibit tumor growth. Assessment of microvessel density suggested that the antitumor activity of anginex is mediated by angiogenesis inhibition. In any of the experiments, no sign of anginex-induced toxicity was observed.