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Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibits differentiation and maturation of dendritic cells (DC), suggesting a potential immunosuppressive role for this proangiogenic factor. Bevacizumab, sorafenib and sunitinib target VEGF-mediated angiogenesis and are active against several types of cancer, but their effects on the immune system are poorly understood. In this study, VEGF and supernatants of renal carcinoma cell lines cultured under hypoxia were found to alter the differentiation of human monocytes to DC. Resulting DC showed impaired activity, as assessed by the alloreactive mixed T-lymphocyte reaction. Bevacizumab and sorafenib, but not sunitinib, reversed the inhibitory effects of VEGF, but not of those mediated by tumour supernatants. Dendritic cells matured under the influence of VEGF expressed less human leukocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR) and CD86, and this effect was restored by bevacizumab and sorafenib. Finally, tumour-cell supernatants decreased interleukin-12 (IL-12) production by mature DC, and such inhibition was not restored by any of the tested drugs, delivered either as single agents or in combination. The deleterious effects of tumour-cell supernatants were mainly mediated by thermostable molecules distinct from VEGF. These results indicate that inhibition of the differentiation of monocytes to DC is a multifactorial effect, and that they support the development of combinations of angiogenesis inhibitors with immunological modulators.

Original publication




Journal article


British journal of cancer

Publication Date





1111 - 1119


Gene Therapy and Hepatology Division, CIMA, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


Dendritic Cells, T-Lymphocytes, Monocytes, Cell Line, Tumor, Humans, Carcinoma, Renal Cell, Kidney Neoplasms, Benzenesulfonates, Phenylurea Compounds, Niacinamide, Pyridines, Pyrroles, Indoles, Angiogenesis Inhibitors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Antineoplastic Agents, Interleukin-12, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed, Lymphocyte Activation, Cell Differentiation, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized, Bevacizumab, Sorafenib, Sunitinib