Combretastatin A-4 and hyperthermia; a potent combination for the treatment of solid tumors

Hans P. Eikesdal*, Rolf Bjerkvig, Olav Mella, Olav Dahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose: Attacking tumor vasculature is a promising approach for the treatment of solid tumors. The tubulin inhibitor combretastatin A-4 disodium phosphate (CA-4) is a new vascular targeting drug which displays a low toxicity profile. We wanted to investigate how CA-4 influences tumor perfusion in the BT4An rat glioma and how the vascular targeting properties of CA-4 could be exploited to augment hyperthermic damage towards tumor vasculature. Material and methods: We used the 86RbCl extraction technique to assess how CA-4 influences tumor perfusion, and the tumor endothelium was examined for morphological changes induced by the drug. We combined CA-4 (50 mg/kg i.p.) with hyperthermia (44°C, 60 min) at different time intervals to evaluate how therapy should be designed to affect tumor growth, and we studied the tumors histologically to assess tissue viability. Results: We found that CA-4 induced a profound, but transient reduction in tumor perfusion 3-6 h postinjection. If hyperthermia was administered 3-6 h after injecting CA-4, massive hemorrhagic necrosis developed, and tumor response was significantly enhanced compared to simultaneous administration of the two treatment modalities (P < 0.005). CA-4 alone had no influence on tumor growth and failed to disrupt the vasculature of the BT4An solid tumors. Interestingly though, a mild endothelial edema was observed in some tumor areas 3 h after injecting CA-4. Conclusions: We conclude that the combination of CA-4 and hyperthermia is a potent therapeutic option for BT4An tumors, but the selection of adequate time intervals between CA-4 and hyperthermia are imperative to obtain tumor response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • BT4An
  • Combretastatin A-4 disodium phosphate
  • Histology
  • Hyperthermia
  • Tumor perfusion


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