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Cancer Res. 2001 Jun 1;61(11):4437-44.

Frequent, moderate-dose cyclophosphamide administration improves the efficacy of cytochrome P-450/cytochrome P-450 reductase-based cancer gene therapy.

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Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Transduction of tumor cells with a cyclophosphamide (CPA)-activating cytochrome P-450 (P450) gene provides the capacity for localized prodrug activation and greatly sensitizes solid tumors to CPA treatment in vivo. The therapeutic impact of this P450-based cancer gene therapy strategy can be substantially enhanced by cotransduction of P450 reductase, a rate-limiting component of P450-dependent intratumoral CPA activation. The present study examined the possibility of further improving P450/P450 reductase-based gene therapy by using a novel schedule of CPA administration, involving repeated CPA injection every 6 days and previously shown to have an antiangiogenic component. 9L gliosarcoma cells transduced with the CPA-activating enzyme couple P450 2B6/P450 reductase and grown s.c. in immunodeficient severe combined immunodeficient (scid) mice were repeatedly challenged with 140 mg/kg CPA every 6 days. Full tumor regression leading to eradication of six of eight tumors was observed when the tumor size at the time of initial drug treatment was approximately 400 mm(3) (approximately 1.5% of body weight). Little or no overt toxicity of the repeated CPA treatment regimen was observed. The same CPA schedule was much less effective in inducing regression of 9L tumors that were not transduced with P450/P450 reductase. Repeated CPA treatment of mice bearing large, late-stage P450/P450 reductase-transduced tumors (approximately 9-16% of body weight) resulted in major (> or =95%) regression in 15 of 16 tumors, with tumor eradication observed in 2 cases. Although CPA resistance was found to emerge in the population of P450/P450 reductase-transduced tumors, this resistance primarily involved a loss of expression of the transduced P450 and/or P450 reductase gene, rather than development of intrinsic cellular resistance to the activated form of CPA. These findings demonstrate that repeated CPA treatment on a 6 day schedule can be highly effective when combined with P450/P450 reductase gene therapy and suggest that repeated transduction of tumors with prodrug-activation genes may be necessary to achieve tumor eradication and a sustained therapeutic response.

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