High-risk cases of neuroblastoma have poor survival rates, and novel therapies are needed. Vandetanib (ZD6474, Zactima) is an inhibitor of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, epidermal growth factor receptor, and rearranged during transfection (RET) tyrosine kinases, which have each been implicated in neuroblastoma pathogenesis. The authors hypothesized that vandetanib combined with 13-cis-retinoic acid (CRA), a differentiating agent used in most current neuroblastoma treatment regimens, would be effective against neuroblastoma tumor models.
The authors evaluated the effects of vandetanib with and without CRA on RET phosphorylation and on the proliferation and survival of human neuroblastoma cell lines in vitro. Using a subcutaneous mouse xenograft model of human neuroblastoma, they analyzed tumors treated with CRA, vandetanib, and the combination of vandetanib plus CRA for growth, gross and histologic appearance, vascularity, and apoptosis.
Vandetanib treatment inhibited RET phosphorylation and resulted in induction of apoptosis in the majority of neuroblastoma cell lines in vitro, whereas CRA treatment induced morphologic differentiation and cell-cycle arrest. Treatment with vandetanib plus CRA resulted in more significant reduction in neuroblastoma cell viability than either alone. In a mouse xenograft model, the combination of vandetanib with CRA demonstrated significantly more growth inhibition than either alone, via both reduction in tumor vascularity and induction of apoptosis.
Vandetanib induces neuroblastoma tumor cell death in vitro and reduces tumor growth and vascularity in vivo. The combination of vandetanib with CRA was more effective in reducing tumor growth than either treatment alone. The antitumor effects of vandetanib plus CRA suggest a novel combination for use in neuroblastoma patients.
A novel therapeutic combination for neuroblastoma: the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor/epidermal growth factor receptor/rearranged during transfection inhibitor vandetanib with 13-cis-retinoic acid