Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is thought to promote tumor growth and angiogenesis. Whereas VEGF is up-regulated in only a portion of anaplastic astrocytoma (AA), it is overexpressed in most glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), and the level of expression is correlated with grade of glioma. To explore the possibility that VEGF may act as a driving force in the progression of AA to GBM, the VEGF isoforms VEGF121 and VEGF165 were overexpressed in genetically modified, mutant H-Rastransformed human astrocytes that on intracranial implantation form AA-like tumors. The ability of the VEGF isoforms to stimulate growth, angiogenesis, oxygenation, and the formation of necrotic GBM-like tumors was then monitored. The parental mutant H-Ras-modified astrocytes expressed four times more endogenous VEGF than normal human astrocytes, but on intracranial implantation formed hypovascular, hypoxic, small AA-like tumors. Whereas these modest levels of VEGF overexpression were insufficient to drive oxygenation and GBM formation, an additional 8-fold increase in VEGF expression mediated by retroviral infection with constructs encoding either VEGF121 or VEGF165 resulted in cells which, after intracranial implantation, formed tumors that were larger, more vascular, and better oxygenated than those formed by the mutant H-ras parental cells. However, the tumors formed by the cells expressing exogenous VEGF121 or VEGF165 retained the phenotype of AA, lacking areas of necrosis that are the hallmark of the GBM pheno-type. These results suggest that whereas the VEGF121 and VEGF165 isoforms can contribute to glioma vascularization, oxygenation, and growth, they do not in and of themselves drive the formation of the GBM phenotype.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2003 Apr 15|