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Oncogene. 2000 Nov 9;19(47):5359-66.

Adenovirus-mediated p16INK4a gene expression radiosensitizes non-small cell lung cancer cells in a p53-dependent manner.

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Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


We examined the influence of adenovirus-mediated wild-type p16INK4a (Ad/p16) expression on the radiation sensitivity of NSCLC cell lines, all of which lacked constitutive p16INK4a but each of which varied in p53 status: A549 (-p16INK4a/ +pRb/wt-p53), H322 (-p16INK4a/ +pRb/mt-p53), and H1299 (-p16INK4a/ +pRb/deleted-p53). The in vitro clonogenic survival results indicate that Ad/p16 enhanced the radiosensitivity of A549 but not H322 or H1299. Further analysis indicated that the apoptosis induced by combination therapy using Ad/p16 plus irradiation was dependent on the endogenous p53 status of the cancer cells. We performed Western blotting to analyse the p53 protein expression of A549 cells treated with either Ad/p16 or Ad/Luc. Endogenous p53 protein levels were higher in A549 cells transfected with Ad/p16 than in those transfected with Ad/Luc. Furthermore, when wt-p53 protein expression was restored in H1299 using Ad/ p53, Ad/p16 stabilized p53 protein expression and radiosensitized the cells. These results suggest that Ad/ p16-induced stabilization of p53 protein may play an important role in Ad/p16 mediated radiosensitization by enhancing or restoring apoptosis properties. Thus, Ad/ p16 plus radiation in combination may be a useful gene therapy strategy for tumors that have wt-p53 but nonfunctional p16INK4a.

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