Disrupting tumour blood vessels

Author(s): Tozer GM, Kanthou C, Baguley BC


Low-molecular-weight vascular-disrupting agents (VDAs) cause a pronounced shutdown in blood flow to solid tumours, resulting in extensive tumour-cell necrosis, while they leave the blood flow in normal tissues relatively intact. The largest group of VDAs is the tubulin-binding combretastatins, several of which are now being tested in clinical trials. DMXAA (5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid) — one of a structurally distinct group of drugs — is also being tested in clinical trials. A full understanding of the action of these and other VDAs will provide insights into mechanisms that control tumour blood flow and will be the basis for the development of new therapeutic drugs for targeting the established tumour vasculature for therapy.

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