Lack of Effect of SU1498, an Inhibitor of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2, in a Transgenic Murine Model of Retinoblastoma

C.M Cebulla, M.E Jockovich, H Boutrid, Y Piña, M Ruggeri, S Jiao, S.K Bhattacharya, W.J Feuer, T.G Murray*
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA

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Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA; E-mail:


SU1498, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2), has activity against retinal neovascular diseases. To determine if this drug might have clinical utility against retinoblastoma, we evaluated the effects of SU1498, as well as the expression of VEGFR-2, in a transgenic animal model of retinoblastoma. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) was evaluated as a technology to measure retinal tumors in vivo, in response to treatment. Immunofluorescence analysis was performed to evaluate the distribution and expression of VEGFR-2 in enucleated eyes from LHβTag transgenic mice and controls at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. VEGFR-2 and phosphorylated (p)VEGFR-2 levels were quantitated by Western blot. OCT was used to pair 10-week-old animals based on tumor volume (n=10), and these animals were treated with 6 periocular injections of SU1498 (50mg/kg, given twice weekly) or vehicle for 3 weeks. Tumor burden was determined by histology and in vivo imaging by OCT. VEGFR-2 and pVEGFR-2 expression levels were upregulated during tumorigenesis. However, SU1498 did not significantly reduce tumor burden compared to vehicle (p=0.29). OCT imaging of one matched pair demonstrated equivalent, linear tumor growth despite treatment with SU1498. Retinal tumors can be followed non-invasively and quantitatively measured with OCT. VEGFR-2 is strongly upregulated during tumorigenesis in transgenic retinoblastoma; however, SU1498 does not decrease tumor volume in transgenic murine RB at the studied dose and route of administration