PURPOSE - Inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) represents a unique mechanism for cancer therapy. It is conceived that HIF-1 inhibitors may synergize with many classes of cancer therapeutic agents, such as angiogenesis inhibitors and cytotoxic drugs, to achieve a more robust tumor response. However, these hypotheses have not been rigorously tested in tumor models in vivo. The present study was carried out to evaluate the antitumor efficacy of combining HIF-1 inhibition with angiogenesis inhibitors or cytotoxic agents.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN - Using a D54MG-derived tumor model that allows knockdown of HIF-1alpha on doxycycline treatment, we examined the tumor responses to chemotherapeutic agents, including the angiogenesis inhibitor ABT-869 and cytotoxic agents 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea and temozolomide, in the presence or absence of an intact HIF-1 pathway.
RESULTS - Surprisingly, inhibiting HIF-1 in tumors treated with the angiogenesis inhibitor ABT-869 did not produce much added benefit compared with ABT-869 treatment alone, suggesting that the combination of an angiogenesis inhibitor with a HIF-1 inhibitor may not be a robust therapeutic regimen. In contrast, the cytotoxic drug temozolomide, when used in combination with HIF-1alpha knockdown, exhibited a superadditive and likely synergistic therapeutic effect compared with the monotherapy of either treatment alone in the D54MG glioma model.
CONCLUSIONS - Our results show that the DNA alkylating agent temozolomide exhibits robust antitumor efficacy when used in combination with HIF-1 inhibition in D54MG-derived tumors, suggesting that the combination of temozolomide with HIF-1 inhibitors might be an effective regimen for cancer therapy. In addition, our results also show that the RNA interference-based inducible knockdown model can be a valuable platform for further evaluation of the combination treatment of other cancer therapeutics with HIF-1 inhibition.