Destruction of tumor vasculature and abated tumor growth upon VEGF blockade is driven by proapoptotic protein Bim in endothelial cells Academic Article uri icon


  • For malignant growth, solid cancers must stimulate the formation of new blood vessels by producing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A), which is required for the survival of tumor-associated vessels. Novel anticancer agents that block VEGF-A signaling trigger endothelial cell (EC) apoptosis and vascular regression preferentially within tumors, but how the ECs die is not understood. In this study, we demonstrate that VEGF-A deprivation, provoked either by drug-induced tumor shrinkage or direct VEGF-A blockade, up-regulates the proapoptotic BH3 (Bcl-2 homology 3)-only Bcl-2 family member Bim in ECs. Importantly, the tumor growth inhibitory activity of a VEGF-A antagonist required Bim-induced apoptosis of ECs. These findings thus reveal the mechanism by which VEGF-A blockade induces EC apoptosis and impairs tumor growth. They also indicate that drugs mimicking BH3-only proteins may be exploited to kill tumor cells not only directly but also indirectly by ablating the tumor vasculature.


  • Naik, E
  • O'Reilly, LA
  • Asselin-Labat, ML
  • Merino, D
  • Lin, A
  • Cook, M
  • Coultas, L
  • Bouillet, P
  • Adams, JM
  • Strasser, A

publication date

  • 2011

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