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Hum Gene Ther. 2006 Dec;17(12):1187-200.

Targeting the CYP2B 1/cyclophosphamide suicide system to fibroblast growth factor receptors results in a potent antitumoral response in pancreatic cancer models.

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Programa Gens i Malaltia, Centre de Regulació Genòmica-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.


The CYP2B1/cyclophosphamide (CPA) suicide gene therapy approach has been shown to be highly promising in clinical trials for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. However, delivering the therapeutic gene to a sufficient number of tumor cells able to trigger a complete response remains a challenge. Target-specific delivery of adenovirus to fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) has been obtained in a variety of tumor models and has been shown to highly increase transduction efficiency. In the present paper we have tested the therapeutic outcome of retargeting the adenoviral vector, Ad-CYP2B1, to FGFRs, using an FGF2-Fab' conjugate, in pancreatic cancer models. First, we show a heterogeneous subcellular distribution of overexpressed FGFR-1 in pancreatic cancer cells. Higher transduction efficiency was observed in five of the six cell lines studied after FGF2-AdGFPLuc infection. Interestingly, an association between FGFR-1 membrane cell expression and viral entry was found. Moreover, tumors injected with FGF2-AdGFPLuc showed enhanced and persistent transgene expression. Importantly, we demonstrate the relevant enhanced cytotoxic effect of the FGF2-Ad-CYP2B]/CPA system in four of the six cell lines studied. Moreover, retargeting Ad-CYP2B1/CPA to FGFRs resulted in a potent antitumoral effect and in an increased survival rate, in two human pancreatic xenograft models. Thus, our results indicate that redirecting adenoviruses to FGFRs highly increases the potency of the suicide system CYP2B1/CPA. Consequently, it may constitute a promising approach to the treatment of patients with pancreatic tumors, in which a high proportion of FGF receptors precisely localize to the plasma membrane.

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