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Cancer Gene Ther. 1999 Jan-Feb;6(1):45-53.

Induction of antitumor immunity by direct intratumoral injection of a recombinant adenovirus vector expressing interleukin-12.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


Direct intratumoral (i.t.) injection of adenoviruses (Ads) expressing specific immunostimulatory cytokines represents an attractive strategy for the clinical implementation of cytokine gene therapy of cancer. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a heterodimeric cytokine produced by antigen-presenting cells and promotes a T helper 1-like immune response. We have constructed an Ad vector (AdCMV-mIL-12) containing both chains of the murine IL-12 (mIL-12) gene linked by an internal ribosomal entry site sequence under the transcriptional control of the cytomegalovirus immediate-early gene promoter, which is able to mediate the transient expression of very high levels of biologically active mIL-12 both in vitro and in vivo. An i.t. injection of 4x10(8) plaque-forming units of AdCMV-mIL-12 resulted in a complete regression of day 7 established subcutaneous MC38 murine adenocarcinomas and MCA205 murine fibrosarcomas. Treated animals rejected a subsequent rechallenge with MC38 and MCA205, respectively, demonstrating the induction of long-lasting antitumor immunity. Specific antitumor cytotoxic T lymphocyte reactivity was detected in splenocytes harvested from treated animals. A significant increase in the numbers of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the AdCMV-mIL-12-infected tumors was observed. Ad-mediated IL-12 gene therapy was also associated with measurable serum levels of mIL-12 and profound changes in the composition of splenic lymphocytes. Taken together, these results demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of delivering IL-12 directly i.t. using a recombinant adenoviral vector.

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