Antibodies targeting hepatoma-derived growth factor as a novel strategy in treating lung cancer.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Hepatoma-derived growth factor (HDGF) is overexpressed in lung cancer and the overexpression correlates with aggressive biological behaviors and poor clinical outcomes. We developed anti-HDGF monoclonal antibodies and tested their antitumor activity in lung cancer xenograft models. We also determined biological effects in tumors treated with the antibody alone or in combination with bevacizumab/avastin (an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor antibody) and/or gemcitabine (a chemotherapeutic agent). We found the anti-HDGF was effective to inhibit tumor growth in non-small cell lung cancer xenograft models. In the A549 model, compared with control IgG, tumor growth was substantially inhibited in animals treated with anti-HDGF antibodies, particularly HDGF-C1 (P = 0.002) and HDGF-H3 (P = 0.005). When HDGF-H3 was combined with either bevacizumab or gemcitabine, we observed enhanced tumor growth inhibition, particularly when the three agents were used together. HDGF-H3-treated tumors exhibited significant reduction of microvessel density with a pattern distinctive from the microvessel reduction pattern observed in bevacizumab-treated tumors. HDGF-H3-treated but not bevacizumab-treated tumors also showed a significant increase of apoptosis. Interestingly, many of the apoptotic cells in HDGF-H3-treated tumors are stroma cells, suggesting that the mechanism of the antitumor activity is, at least in part, through disrupting formation of tumor-stroma structures. Our results show that HDGF is a novel therapeutic target for lung cancer and can be effectively targeted by an antibody-based approach.