Endostatin is a promising non-toxic endometriosis treatment

October 2005

Antiangiogenic therapy with endostatin may present a promising novel, non-toxic therapeutic option for patients with endometriosis.

Researchers at the Department of Surgery, Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, have shown that an anti-angiogenic protein hinders the development of endometriosis in mice without any apparent negative effects on fertility or reproduction.

As the acquisition of new blood vessels is essential for the endometriosis development, inhibition of angiogenesis has become an attractive therapeutic target. But the researchers point out that the fact angiogenesis is involved in many reproductive processes, including ovulation and implantation, poses a challenge to this treatment approach.

In the present study, the team, led by Christian Becker from Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, assessed the effects of the endogenous antiangiogenic protein endostatin on both endometriosis and fertility in mice that have had endometriosis surgically induced.

Endostatin suppressed the growth of endometriotic lesions by 47 percent without affecting the oestrous cycle or formation of the corpus luteum, compared with controls. Female mice given endostatin were as fertile as those that received a vehicle-matched control, and delivered the same number of pups. In turn, their offspring were healthy and reproduced normally themselves.

“Taken together, these results demonstrate a potent new therapeutic approach that may avoid the typical side effects of current drugs used to treat endometriosis,” the researchers conclude.

Source

Becker CM, Sampson DA, Rupnick MA, Rohan RM, Efstathiou JA, Short SM, Taylor GA, Folkman J, D’Amato RJ. Endostatin inhibits the growth of endometriotic lesions but does not affect fertility. Fertility and Sterility 2005; 84: 1144-55.

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