Background Blood vessels are formed either by sprouting of resident tissue endothelial cells (angiogenesis) or by recruitment of bone marrow (BM)-derived circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs, vasculogenesis). Neovascularization has been implicated in tumor growth and inflammation, but its roles in graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) and in tumors after allogeneic BM transplantation (allo-BMT) were not known. Methods We analyzed neovascularization, the contribution of endothelial cells and EPCs, and the ability of anti-vascular endothelial-cadherin antibody, E4G10, to inhibit neovascularization in mice with GVHD after allo-BMT using immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. We examined survival and clinical and histopathologic GVHD in mice (n = 10-25 per group) in which GVHD was treated with the E4G10 antibody using immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, and cytokine immunoassay. We also assessed survival, the contribution of green fluorescent protein-marked EPCs to the tumor vasculature, and the ability of E4G10 to inhibit tumor growth in tumor-bearing mice (n = 20-33 per group) after allo-BMT using histopathology and bioluminescence imaging. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results We found increased neovascularization mediated by vasculogenesis, as opposed to angiogenesis, in GVHD target tissues, such as liver and intestines. Administration of E4G10 inhibited neovascularization by donor BM-derived cells without affecting host vascularization, inhibited both GVHD and tumor growth, and increased survival (at 60 days post-BMT and tumor challenge with A20 lymphoma, the probability of survival was 0.29 for control antibody-treated allo-BMT recipients vs 0.7 for E4G10-treated allo-BMT recipients, 95% confidence interval = 0.180 to 0.640, P <. 001). Conclusions Therapeutic targeting of neovascularization in allo-BMT recipients is a novel strategy to simultaneously ameliorate GVHD and inhibit posttransplant tumor growth, providing a new approach to improve the overall outcome of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research