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Cancer Gene Ther. 2009 Nov;16(11):820-31. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2009.28. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

Lentiviruses with trastuzumab bound to their envelopes can target and kill prostate cancer cells.

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  • 1Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6H 3Z6.


In this study, we took advantage of the overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) in prostate cancers to design lentiviruses with modified envelope proteins that bind antibodies to specific cell-surface antigens. When bound to trastuzumab (Herceptin, Genentech, CA), lentiviruses were able to selectively infect androgen-sensitive LNCaP and castration-resistant C4-2 human prostate cancer cell lines, both of which express high levels of HER-2. To test for a therapeutic effect, we engineered our antibody-binding lentiviruses to express thymidine kinase, which can convert the non-toxic pro-drug ganciclovir (GCV) into a cytotoxic form. LNCaP and C4-2 cells infected by these viruses were sensitive to GCV killing. In vivo, C4-2 xenograft tumors treated either intratumorally or i.v. with trastuzumab-bound lentivirus expressed luciferase, although the latter route was less tumor specific. When a prostate-specific promoter for governing luciferase expression was combined with trastuzumab-mediated delivery, there was a further enrichment in targeting viral gene expression in prostate tumors. In conclusion, we found that although prostate cancers that express high levels of HER-2 are resistant to the killing effects of trastuzumab, they can be targeted for selective gene expression and destruction by viruses with envelope proteins engineered to bind this antibody.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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