Shared mechanism of teratogenicity of anti-angiogenic drugs identified in the chicken embryo model

Shaunna L. Beedie, Chris Mahony, Heather M. Walker, Cindy H. Chau, William D. Figg, Neil Vargesson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is essential for tumor growth, stabilization and progression. Angiogenesis inhibitors are now widely used in the clinic; however, there are relatively few published studies on the mechanism of their presumed teratogenic effects. To address this issue, we screened a variety of angiogenesis inhibitors in developing zebrafish and chicken embryo models to assess for developmental defects and potential teratogenic effects. We confirmed previous reports that sunitinib, sorafenib and TNP-470 are teratogenic and demonstrate that axitinib, pazopanib, vandetanib, and everolimus are also teratogens in these models. A dose response study identified the drugs inhibit HUVEC cell proliferation in vitro, and also target the developing blood vessels of embryos in vivo. This provides further evidence for the potential risk of fetal toxicity when using these drugs in a clinical setting, and emphasizes the importance of the development and maintenance of the vasculature in the embryo. We conclude that angiogenesis inhibitors, regardless of the molecular target, are teratogenic when exposed to chicken embryos.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30038
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 22 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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