Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) antibodies are a promising new treatment for late time-to-onset radiation-induced necrosis (RN). We sought to evaluate and validate the response to anti-VEGF antibody in a mouse model of RN. Mice were irradiated with the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion™ and then treated with anti-VEGF antibody, beginning at post-irradiation (PIR) week 8. RN progression was monitored via anatomic and diffusion MRI from weeks 4–12 PIR. Standard histology, using haematoxylin and eosin (H&E), and immunohistochemistry staining were used to validate the response to treatment. After treatment, both post-contrast T1-weighted and T2-weighted image-derived lesion volumes decreased (P < 0.001), while the lesion volumes for the control group increased. The abnormally high apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) for RN also returned to the ADC range for normal brain following treatment (P < 0.001). However, typical RN pathology was still present histologically. Large areas of focal calcification were observed in ~50% of treated mouse brains. Additionally, VEGF and hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1α) were continually upregulated in both the anti-VEGF and control groups. Despite improvements observed radiographically following anti-VEGF treatment, lesions were not completely resolved histologically. The subsequent calcification and the continued upregulation of VEGF and HIF-1α merit further preclinical/clinical investigation.
- Radiation necrosis