Preliminary investigation of the relationship between angiogenesis and growth of E. multilocularis metacestodes and anti-hydatid effect of antiangiogenic agent

Alveolar echinococcosis (AE), caused by Echinococcus multilocularis (E. multilocularis, E.m), is a lethal human parasitosis and always referred to as a tumor-like hydatid disease because of its kind of similarity with tumors in biological features and pathological manifestations. Current primary treatment options for human AE include radical surgery and chemotherapy. For chemotherapy, present licensed anti-human AE chemotherapeutics primarily involve albendazole (ABZ) and mebendazole (MBZ). However, the parasitostatic rather than parasitocidal actions of the agents always lead to a low cure rate and an unavoidable long-term application for AE patients. Thus, new chemotherapeutic agents with high efficacy and low toxicity are urgently needed for the control of echinococcosis. Apatinib, as a novel vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-targeted therapeutic agent, has been legitimately applied to patients’ terminal cancers and shows encouraging effects. The experiment found that E.m metacestodes appeared active angiogenesis with their growth, indicating a close link between the development and the angiogenesis in AE. As such, in this study we investigated the potential of apatinib as a VEGFR-2 inhibitor against E. m. In addition, the secondary infectious pathway of AE in intermediate hosts remains a controversial issue. The close link between the angiogenesis and the growth and metastasis of E.m metacestodes was demonstrated and the possibility of AE metastasis via lymphohaematogenous pathway was verified. The preliminary in vitro experiment also showed that apatinib could dose-dependently eradicate E.m- PSCx. No significant cytotoxicity at an effective anti-E.m-PSCx concentration of the drug was exhibited.


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