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Hum Gene Ther. 1999 Dec 10;10(18):2941-52.

Transferrin-liposome-mediated systemic p53 gene therapy in combination with radiation results in regression of human head and neck cancer xenografts.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


The use of cationic liposomes as nonviral vehicles for the delivery of therapeutic molecules is becoming increasingly prevalent in the field of gene therapy. We have previously demonstrated that the use of the transferrin ligand (Tf) to target a cationic liposome delivery system resulted in a significant increase in the transfection efficiency of the complex [Xu, L., Pirollo, K.F., and Chang, E.H. (1997). Hum. Gene Ther. 8, 467-475]. Delivery of wild-type (wt) p53 to a radiation-resistant squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) cell line via this ligand-targeted, liposome complex was also able to revert the radiation resistant phenotype of these cells in vitro. Here we optimized the Tf/liposome/DNA ratio of the complex (LipT) for maximum tumor cell targeting, even in the presence of serum. The efficient reestablishment of wtp53 function in these SCCHN tumor cells in vitro, via the LipT complex, restored the apoptotic pathway, resulting in a significant increase in radiation-induced apoptosis that was directly proportional to the level of exogenous wtp53 in the tumor cells. More significantly, intravenous administration of LipT-p53 markedly sensitized established SCCHN nude mouse xenograft tumors to radiotherapy. The combination of systemic LipT-p53 gene therapy and radiation resulted in complete tumor regression and inhibition of their recurrence even 6 months after the end of all treatment. These results indicate that this tumor-specific, ligand-liposome delivery system for p53 gene therapy, when used in concert with conventional radiotherapy, can provide a new and more effective means of cancer treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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