It is thought that the export of angiogenic fibroblast growth factors (FGF) from tumors may be involved in the onset of tumor angiogenesis. To create a new active targeting drug that inhibits the tumor angiogenic process without toxicities to normal cells, human basic FGF (h-bFGF) was inserted genetically into the Gly89 position of cross-linked RNase1 (the ribonuclease inhibitor protein [RI] binding site of cross-linked human pancreatic RNase) to prevent stereospecific binding to RI. The resultant insertional-fusion protein (CL-RFN89) was active both as h-bFGF and as RNase1. Furthermore, it acquired an additional ability of evading RI through steric blockade of RI binding caused by the fused h-bFGF domain. In the present study, the effect of the resultant protein, CL-RFN89, on the antitumor response though its antiangiogenic properties was investigated in an in vivo model. Continuous systemic treatment with CL-RFN89 significantly inhibited the growth of human A431 squamous cell carcinomas in vivo. Seven days of treatment with CL-RFN89 resulted in a 58.2% inhibition of tumor growth compared with control mice (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, immunohistochemistry using a rat antimouse CD31 antibody showed that treatment with CL-RFN89 reduced tumor vascularization. These findings identify CL-RFN89 as a potent systemic inhibitor of tumor growth as a result of its antiangiogenic properties. This protein appears to be a new systemic antitumor agent.
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