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J Biomed Sci. 2012 Feb 9;19:20. doi: 10.1186/1423-0127-19-20.

Targeting Gene-Viro-Therapy with AFP driving Apoptin gene shows potent antitumor effect in hepatocarcinoma.

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State key Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.



Gene therapy and viral therapy are used for cancer therapy for many years, but the results are less than satisfactory. Our aim was to construct a new recombinant adenovirus which is more efficient to kill hepatocarcinoma cells but more safe to normal cells.


By using the Cancer Targeting Gene-Viro-Therapy strategy, Apoptin, a promising cancer therapeutic gene was inserted into the double-regulated oncolytic adenovirus AD55 in which E1A gene was driven by alpha fetoprotein promoter along with a 55 kDa deletion in E1B gene to form AD55-Apoptin. The anti-tumor effects and safety were examined by western blotting, virus yield assay, real time polymerase chain reaction, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, Hoechst33342 staining, Fluorescence-activated cell sorting, xenograft tumor model, Immunohistochemical assay, liver function analysis and Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated dUTP Nick End Labeling assay.


The recombinant virus AD55-Apoptin has more significant antitumor effect for hepatocelluar carcinoma cell lines (in vitro) than that of AD55 and even ONYX-015 but no or little impair on normal cell lines. Furthermore, it also shows an obvious in vivo antitumor effect on the Huh-7 liver carcinoma xenograft in nude mice with bigger beginning tumor volume till about 425 mm3 but has no any damage on the function of liver. The induction of apoptosis is involved in AD55-Apoptin induced antitumor effects.


The AD55-Apoptin can be a potential anti-hepatoma agent with remarkable antitumor efficacy as well as higher safety in cancer targeting gene-viro-therapy system.

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