Bevacizumab-induced inhibition of angiogenesis promotes a more homogeneous intratumoral distribution of paclitaxel, improving the antitumor response

Marta Cesca, Lavinia Morosi, Alexander Berndt, Ilaria Fuso Nerini, Roberta Frapolli, Petra Richter, Alessandra Decio, Olaf Dirsch, Edoardo Micotti, Silvia Giordano, Maurizio D'Incalci, Enrico Davoli, Massimo Zucchetti, Raffaella Giavazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The antitumor activity of angiogenesis inhibitors is reinforced in combination with chemotherapy. It is debated whether this potentiation is related to a better drug delivery to the tumor due to the antiangiogenic effects on tumor vessel phenotype and functionality. We addressed this question by combining bevacizumab with paclitaxel on A2780-1A9 ovarian carcinoma and HT-29 colon carcinoma transplanted ectopically in the subcutis of nude mice and on A2780-1A9 and IGROV1 ovarian carcinoma transplanted orthotopically in the bursa of the mouse ovary. Paclitaxel concentrations together with its distribution by MALDI mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI MSI) were measured to determine the drug in different areas of the tumor, which was immunostained to depict vessel morphology and tumor proliferation. Bevacizumab modified the vessel bed, assessed by CD31 staining and dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI), and potentiated the antitumor activity of paclitaxel in all the models. Although tumor paclitaxel concentrations were lower after bevacizumab, the drug distributed more homogeneously, particularly in vascularized, nonnecrotic areas, and was cleared more slowly than controls. This happened specifically in tumor tissue, as there was no change in paclitaxel pharmacokinetics or drug distribution in normal tissues. In addition, the drug concentration and distribution were not influenced by the site of tumor growth, as A2780-1A9 and IGROV1 growing in the ovary gave results similar to the tumor growing subcutaneously.Wesuggest that the changes in the tumor microenvironment architecture induced by bevacizumab, together with the better distribution of paclitaxel, may explain the significant antitumor potentiation by the combination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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