Pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) is a rare, slow-growing cancer characterized by progressive accumulation of intraperitoneal mucinous tumor deposits. Cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) cures approximately 50% of patients, but in unresectable and recurrent cases, treatment options are limited. Anti-angiogenic treatment is being explored as a potential therapeutic option. Using PMP patient samples, microvessel densities (immunostaining for CD31 and CD105) and pro-angiogenic factors were analyzed, and the proliferative response upon incubation with human umbilical cord vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC) was determined. Growth inhibition by anti-angiogenic drugs was analyzed in patient-derived xenograft models of PMP. PMP tumor tissues were found to be highly vascularized and contained key pro-angiogenic factors, in particular related to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling, but interestingly, high levels of fibroblast growth factor 2 were also detected. HUVEC proliferation was stimulated upon incubation with fresh tumor samples and the observed proliferation could be inhibited by VEGF pathway inhibitor bevacizumab. In xenograft models the two VEGF pathway inhibitors, bevacizumab and aflibercept, inhibited tumor growth. This work reemphasizes the importance of angiogenesis as a major driver in PMP and strengthens the preclinical rationale for continued exploration of angiogenesis inhibition in the hope of providing novel treatment to a group of patients that have few other treatment options.
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