Visualizing the antivascular effect of bortezomib on the hypoxic tumor microenvironment

Xiaorong Sun, Ellen Ackerstaff, Fuqiu He, Ligang Xing, Hung Tsung Hsiao, Jason A. Koutcher, C. Clifton Ling, Gloria C. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Bortezomib, a novel proteasome inhibitor, has been approved for treating multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma and studied pre-clinically and clinically for solid tumors. Preferential cytotoxicity of bortezomib was found toward hypoxic tumor cells and endothelial cells in vitro. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of a pretreatment hypoxic tumor microenvironment on the effects of bortezomib in vitro and ex vivo, and explore the feasibility of dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE MRI) to noninvasively evaluate the biological effects of bortezomib. It was shown in vitro by Western blot, flow cytometry, and ELISA that bortezomib accumulated HIF-1' in non-functional forms and blocks its hypoxia response in human colorectal cancer cell lines. Ex vivo experiments were performed with fluorescent immunohistochemical staining techniques using multiple endogenous and exogenous markers to identify hypoxia (pimonidazole, HRE-TKeGFP), blood flow/permeability (Hoechst 33342), micro-vessels (CD31 and SMA), apoptosis (cleaved caspase 3) and hypoxia response (CA9). After bortezomib administration, overall apoptosis index was significantly increased and blood perfusion was dramatically decreased in tumor xenografts. More importantly, apoptosis signals were found preferentially located in moderate and severe pretreatment hypoxic regions in both tumor and endothelial cells. Meanwhile, DCE MRI examinations showed that the tumor blood flow and permeability decreased significantly after bortezomib administration. The present study revealed that bortezomib reduces tumor hypoxia response and blood perfusion, thus, presenting antivascular properties. It will be important to determine the hypoxic/perfusion status pre- and during treatment at further translational studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34732-34744
Number of pages13
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology

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