Nat Biotechnol 2007 Aug 29;25(8):911-20. Epub 2007 Jul 29.
Genentech, Inc., 1 DNA Way, S. San Francisco, California 94080, USA.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an essential regulator of normal and abnormal blood vessel growth. A monoclonal antibody (mAb) that targets VEGF suppresses tumor growth in murine cancer models and human patients. We investigated cellular and molecular events that mediate refractoriness of tumors to anti-angiogenic therapy. Inherent anti-VEGF refractoriness is associated with infiltration of the tumor tissue by CD11b+Gr1+ myeloid cells. Recruitment of these myeloid cells is also sufficient to confer refractoriness. Combining anti-VEGF treatment with a mAb that targets myeloid cells inhibits growth of refractory tumors more effectively than anti-VEGF alone. Gene expression analysis in CD11b+Gr1+ cells isolated from the bone marrow of mice bearing refractory tumors reveals higher expression of a distinct set of genes known to be implicated in active mobilization and recruitment of myeloid cells. These findings indicate that, in our models, refractoriness to anti-VEGF treatment is determined by the ability of tumors to prime and recruit CD11b+Gr1+ cells.