Selective activation of blood coagulation in tumor vessels with subsequent tumor infarction is a promising anticancer strategy. To this end, a fusion protein consisting of the extracellular domain of tissue factor (truncated tissue factor, tTF) was fused to the peptide GRGDSP selectively targeting avb3 and avb5 integrins on tumor endothelial cells. The fusion protein tTF-RGD retained its thrombogenic and integrin binding activity as demonstrated by coagulation assays and binding assays with purified avb3 and endothelial cells. In vivo studies in mice bearing established human adenocarcinomas (CCL185), human melanoma (M21) and human fibrosarcoma (HT1080) revealed that i.v. administration of tTF-RGD induced partial or complete thrombotic occlusion of tumor vessels as indicated by histological analysis. Furthermore, treatment studies showed that tTF-RGD but not untargeted tTF induced significant tumor growth retardation or regression in all three types of solid tumors in mice without apparent side effects such as thrombosis in liver, kidney, heart or lung.
Thus, selective thrombosis in the tumor vasculature induced by tTF-RGD may be a promising strategy for the treatment of cancer.