Combination therapy using molecular-targeted drugs modulates tumor microenvironment and impairs tumor growth in renal cell carcinoma

Tumor growth and metastasis are determined not by cancer cells alone but also by a variety of stromal cells, various populations of which overexpress platelet-derived growth factor receptors (PDGF-Rs). In addition, activation of PI3K-AKT-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling is frequently observed in many cancer types as well. mTOR comprises a serine/threonine kinase that increases the production of proteins that stimulate key cellular processes such as cell growth and proliferation, cell metabolism, and angiogenesis. In this study, we investigated the impact of molecular-targeting agents including PDGF-R and mTOR inhibitors on the tumor stroma of human kidney cancer and examined the efficacy of combination therapy with these agents against this disease. Treatment with sunitinib did not suppress tumor growth, but significantly decreased stromal reactivity, microvessel density, and pericyte coverage of tumor microvessels in an orthotopic mouse model. In contrast, treatment with everolimus decreased tumor growth and microvessel density but not stromal reactivity. However, sunitinib and everolimus in combination reduced both the growth rate and stromal reaction. These findings suggest that target molecule-based inhibition of the cancer-stromal cell interaction appears promising as an effective antitumor therapy.

Cancer medicine. 2017 Aug 23 [Epub ahead of print]

Hiroyuki Kitano, Yasuhiko Kitadai, Jun Teishima, Ryo Yuge, Shunsuke Shinmei, Keisuke Goto, Shogo Inoue, Tetsutaro Hayashi, Kazuhiro Sentani, Wataru Yasui, Akio Matsubara

Department of Urology, Institute of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, 734-8551, Japan., Department of Health Sciences, Prefectural University of Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan., Department of Gastroenterology & Metabolism, Institute of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan., Department of Molecular Pathology, Institute of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.