Bevacizumab (Bv) can be used synergistically with fluoropyrimidine‐basedchemotherapy to treat colorectal cancer.
Whether and how it affects the delivery of fluoropyrimidine drugs is unknown.
The present study aimed to explore the effect of Bv on the delivery of 5‐fluorouracil (5‐FU) to tumors and the underlying mechanism from metabolic perspective.
Bv enhanced the anti‐tumor effects of 5‐FU in LoVo colon cancer xenograft mice and increased the 5‐FU concentration in tumors without affecting hepatic 5‐FU metabolism. Interestingly, Bv remarkably upregulated thymidine phosphorylase (TP) in tumors, which mediated the metabolic activation of 5‐FU. Although TP is reported to promote angiogenesis and
resistance, the combination of Bv and 5‐FU resulted in anti‐angiogenesis and vessel normalization in tumors, indicating that the elevated TP mainly contributed
to the enhanced response to 5‐FU. Bv also induced TP upregulation in LoVo cancer cells.
Treatment with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) antagonist apatinib and VEGFR2 silencing further confirmed TP upregulation. Bv and apatinib both enhanced the cytotoxicity of 5‐FU in LoVo cells, but there was no synergism with adriamycin and paclitaxel. We further demonstrated that the effect of Bv was dependent on VEGFR2 blockade and specificity protein 1 activation via MDM2 inhibition. In summary, Bv enhanced the accumulation of 5‐FU in tumors and the cytotoxicity of 5‐FU via TP upregulation.
We provide data to better understand how Bv synergizes with 5‐FU from metabolic perspective, and it may give clues to the superiority of Bv in combination with fluoropyrimidine drugs compared to other chemotherapeutic drugs in colon cancer.