, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 691-701
Date: 10 Sep 2010

Anti-tissue factor short hairpin RNA inhibits breast cancer growth in vivo

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In breast cancer, there is a correlation between tissue factor (TF) expression, angiogenesis and disease progression. TF stimulates tumour angiogenesis, in part, through up-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Therefore, this study aimed to establish whether TF stimulates angiogenesis and tumour progression directly and independent of VEGF up-regulation. Initially, the effects of TF and VEGF were assessed on endothelial cell migration (Boyden chamber) and differentiation (tubule formation on Matrigel). Subsequently, MDA-MB-436 breast cancer cells, which produce high levels of both TF and VEGF (western blot analysis), were established in vivo, following which tumours were treated three times per week for 3 weeks with intra-tumoural injections of either anti-VEGF siRNA, anti-TF shRNA, the two treatments combined, or relevant controls. Both VEGF and TF significantly stimulated endothelial cell migration and tubule formation (P < 0.02). Breast cancer xenografts (MDA-MB-436) treated with TF or VEGF-specific agents demonstrated significant inhibition in tumour growth (VEGFsiRNA 61%; final volume: 236.2 ± 23.2 mm3 vs TFshRNA 89%; 161.9 ± 17.4 mm3 vs combination 93%; 136.3 ± 9.2 mm3 vs control 400.4 ± 32.7 mm3; P < 0.005). Microvessel density (MVD), a measure of angiogenesis, was also significantly inhibited in all groups (MVD in control = 29 ± 2.9; TFshRNA = 18 ± 1.1; VEGFsiRNA = 16.7 ± 1.5; both = 12 ± 2.1; P < 0.004), whereas the proliferative index of the tumours was only reduced in the TFshRNA-treated groups (control = 0.51 ± 0.011; TFshRNA = 0.41 ± 0.014; VEGFsiRNA = 0.49 ± 0.013; both = 0.41 ± 0.004; P < 0.008). These data suggest that TF has a direct effect on primary breast cancer growth and angiogenesis, and that specific inhibition of the TF-signalling pathway has potential for the treatment of primary breast cancer.