Research Papers:

The broad-spectrum anti-DNA virus agent cidofovir inhibits lung metastasis of virus-independent, FGF2-driven tumors

Sandra Liekens _, Sam Noppen, Sofie Gijsbers, Rebecca Sienaert, Roberto Ronca, Chiara Tobia and Marco Presta

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:4633-4648. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3079

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Sandra Liekens1, Sam Noppen1, Sofie Gijsbers1, Rebecca Sienaert1, Roberto Ronca2, Chiara Tobia2 and Marco Presta2

1 KU Leuven, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Leuven, Belgium

2 Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy


Sandra Liekens, email:

Keywords: basic fibroblast growth factor, melanoma, metastasis, nucleoside phosphonate, survival

Received: November 18, 2014 Accepted: December 26, 2014 Published: December 31, 2014


The FDA-approved anti-DNA virus agent cidofovir (CDV) is being evaluated in phase II/III clinical trials for the treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated tumors. However, previous observations had shown that CDV also inhibits the growth of vascular tumors induced by fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2)-transformed FGF2-T-MAE cells. Here, we demonstrate that CDV inhibits metastasis induced by FGF2-driven, virus-independent tumor cells. Pre-treatment of luciferase-expressing FGF2-T-MAE cells with CDV reduced single cell survival and anchorage-independent growth in vitro and lung metastasis formation upon intravenous inoculation into SCID mice. This occurred in the absence of any effect on homing of FGF2-T-MAE cells to the lungs and on the growth of subconfluent cell cultures or subcutaneous tumors in mice. Accordingly, CDV protected against lung metastasis when given systemically after tumor cell injection. Lung metastases in CDV-treated mice showed reduced Ki67 expression and increased nuclear accumulation of p53, indicating that CDV inhibits metastasis by affecting single cell survival properties. The anti-metastatic potential of CDV was confirmed on B16-F10 melanoma cells, both in zebrafish embryos and mice. These findings suggest that CDV may have therapeutic potential as an anti-metastatic agent and warrants further study to select those tumor types that are most likely to benefit from CDV therapy.

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