Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a potent angiogenic mitogen. To elucidate the effect of bFGF inhibitors in vivo, anti-bFGF immunoneutralizing monoclonal antibody was prepared. One monoclonal antibody against human bFGF, obtained by cell fusion and designated 3H3, completely inhibited bFGF-induced proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells at a concentration of 100 ng/ml. 3H3 did not bind to acidic fibroblast growth factor or HST1 protein, indicating high specificity for bFGF. Furthermore, the immunoneutralizing activity of 3H3 was examined in vivo. K1000 cells (a BALB/c 3T3 transformant in which the leader sequence-fused bFGF gene was transfected) were transplanted s.c. into BALB/c nude mice. Growth of the tumor cells was inhibited by i.v. treatment with 3H3 at a concentration of 200 µg/mouse. Histological observation showed that the antitumor effect of 3H3 was due to the inhibition of bFGF-induced angiogenesis. This experiment provides direct causal evidence for the hypothesis that tumor growth is angiogenesis dependent. This finding could also have implications for the development of novel therapeutic approaches to angiogenic solid tumors.

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