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Cancer Res. 2007 Jun 1;67(11):5434-42.

Eradication of therapy-resistant human prostate tumors using a cancer terminator virus.

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Department of Urology, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Medical Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Terminal prostate cancer is refractory to conventional anticancer treatments because of frequent overexpression of antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and/or Bcl-x(L). Adenovirus-mediated delivery of melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24), a secreted cytokine having cancer-selective apoptosis-inducing properties, profoundly inhibits prostate cancer cell growth. However, forced overexpression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-x(L) renders prostate cancer cells resistant to Ad.mda-7. We constructed a conditionally replication-competent adenovirus in which expression of the adenoviral E1A gene, necessary for replication, is driven by the cancer-specific promoter of progression elevated gene-3 (PEG-3) and which simultaneously expresses mda-7/IL-24 in the E3 region of the adenovirus (Ad.PEG-E1A-mda-7), a cancer terminator virus (CTV). This CTV generates large quantities of MDA-7/IL-24 as a function of adenovirus replication uniquely in cancer cells. Infection of Ad.PEG-E1A-mda-7 (CTV) in normal prostate epithelial cells and parental and Bcl-2- or Bcl-x(L)-overexpressing prostate cancer cells confirmed cancer cell-selective adenoviral replication, mda-7/IL-24 expression, growth inhibition, and apoptosis induction. Injecting Ad.PEG-E1A-mda-7 (CTV) into xenografts derived from DU-145-Bcl-x(L) cells in athymic nude mice completely eradicated not only primary tumors but also distant tumors (established in the opposite flank), thereby implementing a cure. These provocative findings advocate potential therapeutic applications of this novel virus for advanced prostate cancer patients with metastatic disease.

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