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J Gastrointest Surg. 2004 Jan;8(1):98-108; discussion 106-8.

Specific gene expression and therapy for pancreatic cancer using the cytosine deaminase gene directed by the rat insulin promoter.

Author information

1
Michael E DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

Abstract

Suicide gene therapy has been shown to be an effective means of destroying pancreatic cancer cells, but cell-specific delivery of the gene is required to limit host toxicity. The objective of this study is to determine whether the rat insulin promoter (RIP) will permit cell-specific gene delivery and subsequent cell death in human pancreatic cancer cells. The RIP DNA was amplified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and the purified fragment was inserted into pCR-Blunt II-TOPO plasmid at the SpeI site, which contains the coding sequence of yeast cytosine deaminase (CD). Transfection assays were carried out using both RIP-lacZ and RIP-CD DNA constructs in two human pancreatic cancer cell lines, PANC-1 and MIA PaCa-2. Reporter assays using X-gal staining were performed, and the in vitro cytotoxicity was examined in RIP-CD-transfected cells treated with 5-flucytosine for 5 days. The expression levels of CD protein in the transfected cells were determined 2 days after transfection by Western blot analysis. The expression levels of insulin promoter factor (IPF-1/PDX-1) in these human pancreatic cell lines, as well as in freshly isolated human pancreatic cancer specimens, were determined using in situ immunohistochemistry analysis. After transfection with RIP-lacZ, only PANC-1 cells, but not MIA PaCa-2 cells, were positive for RIP-lacZ expression, indicating that RIP-directed reporter gene expression occurred only in PANC-1 cells. After transfection with RIP-CD and treatment with 5-flucytosine, PANC-1 cells had a significantly increased cell death rate compared with that of MIA PaCa-2 cells, suggesting that RIP-directed suicide gene expression occurred only in PANC-1 cells. Western blot analysis demonstrated that only PANC-1 cells were able to express the CD protein and that significantly increased levels of PDX-1 were found in PANC-1 but not in Mia PaCa-2 cells. In situ immunohistochemical analysis of both cell lines showed that PDX-1 was only expressed in the nuclei of PANC-1 cells and not in MIA PaCa-2 cells. Furthermore, two freshly isolated human pancreatic cancer specimens had significantly increased levels of PDX-1. The RIP is activated in PANC-1 cells, but not in Mia PaCa-2 cells, and the mechanism of activation is via PDX-1. Pancreatic cancer-specific cytotoxicity can be achieved with the use of RIP-CD and 5-flucytosine treatment in vitro. Significantly increased levels of PDX-1 have been found in human pancreatic cancer specimens. These results suggest that RIP could be used for cell-specific suicide gene therapy to target human pancreatic tumors.

PMID:
14746841
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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