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Gene Ther. 2001 Jun;8(12):946-53.

Inclusion of the herpes simplex thymidine kinase gene in a replicating adenovirus does not augment antitumor efficacy.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Replication-incompetent adenoviruses (Ad) carrying the herpes simplex thymidine kinase (HSVtk) gene have been used in a number of human cancer gene therapy trials, however transduction has generally been limited to a small minority of tumor cells. To solve this problem, replication-competent adenoviral vectors carrying transgenes such as HSVtk have been developed. However, contradictory evidence exists regarding the efficacy of these new vectors. Accordingly, we constructed and tested a replication-competent E3-deleted adenoviral vector containing the HSVtk suicide gene driven by the endogenous E3 promoter ( This virus showed high level production of the HSVtk transgene and was more efficacious than a non-replicating virus in vitro, after injection into flank tumors, and against established intraperitoneal tumors. However, addition of ganciclovir (GCV) therapy to cells or tumor-bearing animals treated with the replicating vector containing the HSVtk suicide gene did not result in increased cell killing. Our results indicate that addition of HSVtk to a replicating Ad virus will not likely be useful in augmenting antitumor effects.

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