Resistance of renal cell carcinoma to sorafenib is mediated by potentially reversible gene expression

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Purpose: Resistance to antiangiogenic therapy is an important clinical problem. We examined whether resistance occurs at least in part via reversible, physiologic changes in the tumor, or results solely from stable genetic changes in resistant tumor cells. Experimental Design: Mice bearing two human RCC xenografts were treated with sorafenib until they acquired resistance. Resistant 786-O cells were harvested and reimplanted into naïve mice. Mice bearing resistant A498 cells were subjected to a 1 week treatment break. Sorafenib was then again administered to both sets of mice. Tumor growth patterns, gene expression, viability, blood vessel density, and perfusion were serially assessed in treated vs control mice. Results: Despite prior resistance, reimplanted 786-O tumors maintained their ability to stabilize on sorafenib in sequential reimplantation steps. A transcriptome profile of the tumors revealed that the gene expression profile of tumors upon reimplantation reapproximated that of the untreated tumors and was distinct from tumors exhibiting resistance to sorafenib. In A498 tumors, revascularization was noted with resistance and cessation of sorafenib therapy and tumor perfusion was reduced and tumor cell necrosis enhanced with re-exposure to sorafenib. Conclusions: In two RCC cell lines, resistance to sorafenib appears to be reversible. These results support the hypothesis that resistance to VEGF pathway therapy is not solely the result of a permanent genetic change in the tumor or selection of resistant clones, but rather is due to a great extent to reversible changes that likely occur in the tumor and/or its microenvironment. © 2011 Zhang et al.




Zhang, L., Bhasin, M., Schor-Bardach, R., Wang, X., Collins, M. P., Panka, D., … Bhatt, R. S. (2011). Resistance of renal cell carcinoma to sorafenib is mediated by potentially reversible gene expression. PLoS ONE, 6(4).

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