Tumors cannot grow without a supply of oxygen and nutrients. Hence, targeting tumor vasculature with Vascular Disrupting Agents (VDAs) represents a promising therapeutic strategy, especially for the treatment of solid tumors. However, VDAs cause central necrosis, leaving a rim of viable tumor cells that often eventually lead to tumor recurrence and development of resistance. Here, we aim to better understand the underlying molecular mechanisms leading to the acquisition of VDA-resistance and its correlation with the extent of hypoxia and respiratory functions.

A well-known VDA, Combretastatin A-4 phosphate (CA4P), was used for the study. First, a NSCLC cell line expressing luciferase was implanted into the right flanks of female SCID mice. Next, CA4P was administered intraperitoneally. The effect was monitored 3 and 24 hours post injection of CA4P through BLI (Perkin Elmer's IVIS Lumina III) after subcutaneous injection of luciferin. After sacrificing the mice, the tumors were harvested, formalin-fixed, and paraffin-embedded for Immunohistochemistry (IHC).

Our BLI data indicated significant decrease in radiance 3 hour post treatment (total flux in photons per second) which remained so at 24 hours, when luciferin was re-administered. Our IHC data indicated enhanced levels of enzymes involved in heme biosynthesis, uptake and degradation, and hemoproteins involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Furthermore, we examined the effect of a mitochondrial targeting agent (MTA) that undermined the expression of these proteins, on the progression of subcutaneous tumor xenografts.

Citation Format: Sanchareeka Dey, Sharda Kumari, Sarada Preeta Kalainayakan, Poorva Ghosh, Li Zhang, Li Liu. Elevated expression of heme related proteins in viable tumor cells treated with vascular disrupting agent, combretastatin A-4 phosphate in xenograft models of NSCLC [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 3533.