In this study we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) biomarkers to monitor the acute temporal changes in tumor vascular physiology with the aim of identifying the vascular signatures that predict response to combined anti-angiogenic and radiation treatments. Forty-three athymic rats implanted with orthotopic U-251 glioma cells were studied for approximately 21 days after implantation. Two MRI studies were performed on each animal, pre- and post-treatment, to measure tumor vascular parameters. Two animal groups received treatment comprised of Cilengitide, an anti-angiogenic agent and radiation. The first group received a subcurative regimen of Cilengitide 1 h before irradiation, while the second group received a curative regimen of Cilengitide 8 h before irradiation. Cilengitide was given as a single dose (4 mg/kg; intraperitoneal) after the pretreatment MRI study and before receiving a 20 Gy radiation dose. After irradiation, the post-treatment MRI study was performed at selected time points: 2, 4, 8 and 12 h (n = ≥5 per time point). Significant changes in vascular parameters were observed at early time points after combined treatments in both treatment groups (1 and 8 h). The temporal changes in vascular parameters in the first group (treated 1 h before exposure) resembled a previously reported pattern associated with radiation exposure alone. Conversely, in the second group (treated 8 h before exposure), all vascular parameters showed an initial response at 2–4 h postirradiation, followed by an apparent lack of response at later time points. The signature time point to define the “synergy” of Cilengitide and radiation was 4 h postirradiation. For example, 4 h after combined treatments using a 1 h separation (which followed the subcurative regimen), tumor blood flow was significantly decreased, nearly 50% below baseline (P = 0.007), whereas 4 h after combined treatments using an 8 h separation (which followed the curative regimen), tumor blood flow was only 10% less than baseline. Comparison between the first and second groups further revealed that most other vascular parameters were maximally different 4 h after combined treatments. In conclusion, the data are consistent with the assertion that the delivery of radiation at the vascular normalization time window of Cilengitide improves radiation treatment outcome. The different vascular responses after the different delivery times of combined treatments in light of the known tumor responses under similar conditions would indicate that timing has a crucial influence on treatment outcome and long-term survival. Tracking acute changes in tumor physiology after monotherapy or combined treatments appears to aid in identifying the beneficial timing for administration, and perhaps has predictive value. Therefore, judicial timing of treatments may result in optimal treatment response.
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Vol. 187 • No. 1