We hypothesized that overexpression of PDGF-BB in colorectal cancer (CRC) and pancreatic cancer cells would result in increased pericyte coverage of ECs in vivo, rendering the tumor vasculature more resistant to antiangiogenic therapy. We stably transfected the cDNA for the PDGF-B into HT-29 human CRC and FG human pancreatic cancer cells. Surprisingly, when HT-29 or FG parental and transfected cells were injected into mice (subcutaneously and orthotopically), we observed marked inhibition of tumor growth in the PDGF-BB–overexpressing clones. In the PDGF-BB–overexpressing tumors, we observed an increase in pericyte coverage of ECs. Treatment of PDGF-BB–overexpressing tumors with imatinib mesylate (PDGFR inhibitor) resulted in increased growth and decreased total pericyte content compared with those in untreated PDGF-BB–overexpressing tumors. In vitro studies demonstrated the ability of VSMCs to inhibit EC proliferation by approximately 50%. These data show that increasing the pericyte content of the tumor microenvironment inhibits the growth of angiogenesis-dependent tumors. Single-agent therapy targeting PDGF receptor must be used with caution in tumors when PDGFR is not the target on the tumor cell itself.
Marya F. McCarty, Ray J. Somcio, Oliver Stoeltzing, Jane Wey, Fan Fan, Wenbiao Liu, Corazon Bucana, Lee M. Ellis