Tc-99m-(CO)(3) His-Annexin A5 Micro-SPECT Demonstrates Increased Cell Death by Irinotecan During the Vascular Normalization Window Caused by Bevacizumab

Christel Vangestel*, Christophe Van de Wiele, Nancy Van Damme, Steven Staelens, Patrick Pauwels, Chris P. M. Reutelingsperger, Marc Peeters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Web of Science)


Colorectal tumors are dependent on angiogenesis for growth, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key mediator of tumor angiogenesis. Antiangiogenic drugs can induce a transient normalization of the tumor vasculature with improved delivery of coadministered chemotherapy. The efficacy of antihuman VEGF antibody (bevacizumab) with or without irinotecan was evaluated in a colorectal cancer xenograft using Tc-99m-(CO)(3) His-annexin A5. Methods: Colo205-bearing mice were treated with a single dose of bevacizumab (5 mg/kg) during 2, 4, or 6 d. Microvessel density, pericyte coverage (alpha-smooth-muscle actin immunostaining), collagen-covered tumor vessels (Masson trichrome staining), and tumor hypoxic fraction (pimonidazole staining) were determined at the 3 different time points after treatment with bevacizumab. To investigate the possible synergistic effects of combination therapy with bevacizumab and irinotecan, Colo205-bearing mice were treated with a single dose of bevacizumab 2, 4, or 6 d before administration of a single dose of irinotecan (100 mg/kg) or 0.9% NaCl. The apoptosis-detecting radiotracer Tc-99m-(CO)(3) His-annexin A5 was injected (18.5 MBq) in mice 12, 24, and 48 h after the start of the irinotecan or NaCl treatment, and micro-SPECT was subsequently performed 3.5 h after injection of the radiotracer. Results were correlated to histologic analysis for apoptosis (caspase-3 activation). Results: Four days after bevacizumab administration, microvessel density decreased significantly, and alpha-smooth-muscle actin and collagen-covered vessels, compared with control tumors, were increased, suggesting normalization of the tumor vasculature. Hypoxic fraction was slightly reduced 4 d after treatment with bevacizumab. SPECT analyses demonstrated a significant increase in tumoral Tc-99m-(CO)(3) His-annexin A5 uptake 4 d after bevacizumab treatment and 24 h after irinotecan administration (232.78 +/- 24.82 percentage injected dose/tumor weight [g]/body weight [kg], P <0.05), compared with each monotherapy, indicating a synergistic effect of both therapies. Conclusion: Tc-99m-(CO)(3) His-annexin A5 micro-SPECT demonstrates increased antitumor activity of irinotecan during the transient vascular normalization period caused by bevacizumab. Our data outline the importance of timing of combined anti-VEGF treatment with chemotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1786-1794
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011


  • anti-VEGF
  • vascular normalization
  • chemotherapy delivery
  • Tc-99m-(CO)(3) His-annexin A5
  • colorectal cancer

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