The placental growth factor as a target against hepatocellular carcinoma in a diethylnitrosamine-induced mouse model
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Journal of hepatology. - Amsterdam
, p. 319-328
University of Antwerp
Background & Aims The placental growth factor (PlGF) is a member of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family known to stimulate endothelial cell growth, migration and survival, attract angiocompetent macrophages, and determine the metastatic niche. Unlike VEGF, genetic studies have shown that PlGF is specifically involved in pathologic angiogenesis, thus its inhibition would not affect healthy blood vessels, providing an attractive drug candidate with a good safety profile. Methods We assess whether inhibition of PlGF could be used as a potential therapy against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), by using PlGF knockout mice and monoclonal anti-PlGF antibodies in a mouse model for HCC. In addition, the effect of PlGF antibodies is compared to that of sorafenib, as well as the combination of both therapies. Results We have found that both in a transgenic knockout model and in a treatment model, targeting PlGF significantly decreases tumor burden. This was achieved not only by inhibiting neovascularisation, but also by decreasing hepatic macrophage recruitment and by normalising the remaining blood vessels, thereby decreasing hypoxia and reducing the prometastatic potential of HCC. Conclusions Considering the favourable safety profile and its pleiotropic effect on vascularisation, metastasis and inflammation, PlGF inhibition could become a valuable therapeutic strategy against HCC.