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Cancer Gene Ther. 2000 Jun;7(6):947-53.

Treatment of rat experimental brain tumors by herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene-transduced allogeneic tumor cells and ganciclovir.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Japan.


Transfer of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSVtk) gene, followed by administration of ganciclovir (GCV), generates the "bystander effect," in which HSVtk-negative wild-type cells are killed by GCV, as are HSVtk-expressing cells. Our previous study demonstrated that intracranial 9L gliomas could be efficiently treated due to this bystander effect by injecting the 9L glioma cells transduced with the HSVtk gene in the vicinity of the preimplanted wild-type 9L glioma and then administering GCV. For a possible clinical application of the bystander effect-mediated cell killing, we tested HSVtkgene-transduced allogeneic C6 glioma cells (C6tk) instead of syngeneic 9L glioma cells transduced with the HSVtk gene. Fisher rats were implanted intracranially with wild-type 9L glioma cells, subsequently injected with C6tk cells at the same brain coordinate, and thereafter treated with GCV or saline. When the rats were treated with GCV, a significant retardation of tumor growth was observed by serial magnetic resonance imaging, although this growth retardation was less prominent than that observed with 9L glioma cells transduced with the HSVtk gene; consequently, survival was prolonged (P < .01). Tumors that received C6tk cells contained almost no HSVtk-positive cells after treatment with GCV. Rejection of allogeneic tumor cells, although possibly incomplete in the brain, can also contribute to the safety of this therapeutic strategy.

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