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Cancer Res. 2000 Jun 1;60(11):2936-41.

Therapeutic efficacy of the suicide gene driven by the promoter of vascular endothelial growth factor gene against hypoxic tumor cells.

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  • 1Division of Pathology, Chiba Cancer Center Research Institute, Japan.

Abstract

We examined whether herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) gene expression driven by the promoter of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene that is activated by hypoxia is effective in killing highly metastatic Lewis lung carcinoma A11 cells under hypoxic conditions. We isolated the promoter region encompassing the hypoxia response element (HRE) of the mouse VEGF gene. To assess the hypoxia responsiveness of the VEGF promoter, A11 cells were transiently transfected with luciferase reporter plasmids. Exposure of the transfectants to hypoxia resulted in a 2-3-fold induction of luciferase activity. Deletion of the HRE site abolished VEGF promoter activity under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. We constructed a retroviral vector harboring the HSV-TK or green fluorescence protein (GFP) gene under the control of the VEGF promoter. A11 cells transfected with vector harboring the VEGF promoter fused to the HSV-TK gene [A11(HRE/TK) cells] were more sensitive to ganciclovir than cells transfected with the control vector harboring the VEGF promoter alone, and the sensitivity of the A11(HRE/TK) cells was increased by exposure to hypoxia followed by reoxygenation. Culturing A11 cells transfected with vector harboring the VEGF promoter fused to the GFP gene under hypoxic conditions resulted in an increase in the expression of GFP. Monitoring GFP expression and vascularity in the A11 transfectant tumors revealed up-regulation of GFP expression in poorly vascularized regions. Administration of ganciclovir to mice bearing s.c. tumors formed by A11(HRE/TK) cells resulted in regression of the tumors. These results suggest a possible application of the suicide gene driven by the VEGF promoter to cancer gene therapy that efficiently targets hypoxic tumor cells.

PMID:
10850440
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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