Angiopoietin-2 functions as a Tie2 agonist in tumor models, where it limits the effects of VEGF inhibition.

Christopher Daly, Alexandra Eichten, Carla Castanaro, Elizabeth Pasnikowski, Alexander Adler, Alshad S Lalani, Nicholas Papadopoulos, Alastair H Kyle, Andrew I Minchinton, George D Yancopoulos, Gavin Thurston
Cancer research2013
The angiopoietins Ang1 (ANGPT1) and Ang2 (ANGPT2) are secreted factors that bind to the endothelial cell-specific receptor tyrosine kinase Tie2 (TEK) and regulate angiogenesis. Ang1 activates Tie2 to promote blood vessel maturation and stabilization. In contrast, Ang2, which is highly expressed by tumor endothelial cells, is thought to inhibit Tie2 activity and destabilize blood vessels, thereby facilitating VEGF-dependent vessel growth. Here, we show that the inhibition of tumor xenograft growth caused by an Ang2-specific antibody (REGN910) is reversed by systemic administration of the Tie2 agonist Ang1. These results indicate that Ang2 blockade inhibits tumor growth by decreasing Tie2 activity, showing that Ang2 is a Tie2 activator. REGN910 treatment of tumors resulted in increased expression of genes that are repressed by Tie2 activation, providing further evidence that REGN910 inhibits Tie2 signaling. Combination treatment with REGN910 plus the VEGF blocker aflibercept reduced tumor vascularity and tumor perfusion more dramatically than either single agent, resulting in more extensive tumor cell death and more potent inhibition of tumor growth. Challenging the prevailing model of Ang2 as a destabilizing factor, our findings indicate that Ang2 plays a protective role in tumor endothelial cells by activating Tie2, thereby limiting the antivascular effects of VEGF inhibition. Thus, blockade of Ang2 might enhance the clinical benefits currently provided by anti-VEGF agents. .
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