Purpose: New strategies to detect tumor angiogenesis and monitor response of tumor vasculature to therapy are needed. Contrast ultrasound imaging using microbubbles targeted to tumor endothelium offers a noninvasive method for monitoring and quantifying vascular effects of antitumor therapy. We investigated the use of targeted microbubbles to follow vascular response of therapy in a mouse model of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Experimental Design: Microbubbles conjugated to monoclonal antibodies were used to image and quantify vascular effects of two different antitumor therapies in s.c. and orthotopic pancreatic tumors in mice. Tumor-bearing mice were treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) monoclonal antibodies and/or gemcitabine, and the localization of microbubbles to endoglin (CD105), VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2), or VEGF-activated blood vessels (the VEGF-VEGFR complex) was monitored by contrast ultrasound. Results: Targeted microbubbles showed significant enhancement of tumor vasculature when compared with untargeted or control IgG - targeted microbubbles. Video intensity from targeted microbubbles correlated with the level of expression of the target (CD105, VEGFR2, or the VEGF-VEGFR complex) and with microvessel density in tumors under antiangiogenic or cytotoxic therapy. Conclusions: We conclude that targeted microbubbles represent a novel and attractive tool for noninvasive, vascular-targeted molecular imaging of tumor angiogenesis and for monitoring vascular effects specific to antitumor therapy in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research