Tumor endothelial marker 8 (TEM8) is a gene upregulated on colonic tumor endothelium compared to quiescent normal endothelium. Inhibition of TEM8 using antibodies potently inhibits the growth of a variety of tumor types in mice. This inhibition of tumor growth is accompanied by a reduction in microvessel density within the tumors. Thus, TEM8 appears to represent a tumor specific endothelial marker that has a functional role in tumor angiogenesis. TEM8 is also a receptor for anthrax toxin. In the current study, we used chemical libraries to identify small molecule inhibitors of TEM8 that may have efficacy as inhibitors of tumor angiogenesis and anthrax toxin.

We conducted a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) based screen of over 270,000 small molecules in order to identify molecules that inhibit the interaction of TEM8 with its well-known ligand anthrax protective antigen (PA). We describe here the identification and anti-angiogenic effects of small molecules that bind to TEM8.

From the initial screen 280 molecules inhibited TEM8/PA interaction by greater than 50%. A secondary screen involved the elucidation of IC50 values for these 280 compounds as inhibitors of the TEM8/PA interaction. Twelve compounds had measurable IC50s in the micromolar range. The anti-angiogenic effects of these compounds were studied in vitro. Of the 12 compounds tested in a human microvascular endothelial cell (HMVEC) proliferation assay, 3 compounds significantly inhibited endothelial cell proliferation after 24 hours (P <0.05), and 5 compounds significantly inhibited proliferation at 72 hours (P <0.05). None of the compounds exhibited measurable cytotoxicity. One of the five compounds tested for effects on HMVEC migration, significantly inhibited migration on a fibronectin coated-surface by 78% (P<0.01).

We have identified a number of small molecule inhibitors of TEM8, some of which display anti-angiogenic effects in vitro. Should these inhibitors also display potent anti-angiogenic effects in vivo, they may serve as lead compounds for the future development of TEM8 therapeutic small molecules. Future studies will focus on determining the effects of these molecules on tumor growth and angiogenesis in mouse models.

Citation Format: Lorna Cryan, Marinya Roznik, Aaron McBride, Robert D'Amato, Kenneth Christensen, Michael S. Rogers. Identification and anti-angiogenic effects of small molecule inhibitors of TEM8. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 104th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2013 Apr 6-10; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2013;73(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 5076. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2013-5076