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A Functional Role for VEGFR1 Expressed in Peripheral Sensory Neurons in Cancer Pain.

  • Author(s): Selvaraj, Deepitha;
  • Gangadharan, Vijayan;
  • Michalski, Christoph W;
  • Kurejova, Martina;
  • Stösser, Sebastian;
  • Srivastava, Kshitij;
  • Schweizerhof, Matthias;
  • Waltenberger, Johannes;
  • Ferrara, Napoleone;
  • Heppenstall, Paul;
  • Shibuya, Masabumi;
  • Augustin, Hellmut G;
  • Kuner, Rohini
  • et al.
Abstract

Cancer pain is a debilitating disorder and a primary determinant of the poor quality of life. Here, we report a non-vascular role for ligands of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) family in cancer pain. Tumor-derived VEGF-A, PLGF-2, and VEGF-B augment pain sensitivity through selective activation of VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR1) expressed in sensory neurons in human cancer and mouse models. Sensory-neuron-specific genetic deletion/silencing or local or systemic blockade of VEGFR1 prevented tumor-induced nerve remodeling and attenuated cancer pain in diverse mouse models in vivo. These findings identify a therapeutic potential for VEGFR1-modifying drugs in cancer pain and suggest a palliative effect for VEGF/VEGFR1-targeting anti-angiogenic tumor therapies.

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