Vascular-targeting activity of ZD6126, a novel tubulin-binding agent

Gianluca Micheletti, Maura Poli, Patrizia Borsotti, Michele Martinelli, Barbara Imberti, Giulia Taraboletti, Raffaella Giavazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tubulin-binding agent ZD6126 is a novel vascular-targeting agent in clinical development for the treatment of solid tumors. In vivo, ZD6126 is rapidly converted into N-acetylcolchinol (ZD6126 phenol). In this study, we have explored the antivascular property of N-acetylcolchinol in vitro and ZD6126 in vivo. In cell culture, N-acetylcolchinol induced rapid changes in the morphology of human umbilical vein and lung microvessel endothelial cells. Within 40 min, the compound induced endothelial cell contraction, destabilization of the tubulin cytoskeleton, induction of actin stress fibers, and membrane blebbing. These effects occurred at noncyto-toxic concentrations and were rapidly reversed on removal of the drug. Nonconfluent endothelial cells were more sensitive than confluent, quiescent cells. Among different cell types, endothelial cells were the most sensitive to the induction of morphological changes, whereas smooth muscle cells were not affected. In vitro, N-acetylcolchinol rapidly disrupted a network of newly formed cords. In vivo, ZD6126 caused shut down of newly formed vessels in the Matrigel plug assay, shortly after injection. This study indicates that rapid alteration of endothelial cell morphology may be responsible for the loss of tumor blood vessel integrity, vessel shut down, and extensive tumor necrosis induced by ZD6126 in experimental tumor models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1534-1537
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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